Here is the full text of President Trump’s D-Day speech.
And here is the video of him delivering it:
It’s a momentous piece of work. Of course, there is remarkable material to work with – the drama of the Normandy invasion and what was at stake, and the scale of the endeavour. Above all, we are running out of anniversaries at which D-Day veterans will be with us.
But look at how he weaves in some of the stories of those veterans:
In the early morning hours, the two brothers stood together on the deck of the USS Henrico, before boarding two separate Higgins landing craft. “If I don’t make it,” Bill said, “please, please take care of my family.” Ray asked his brother to do the same.
Of the 31 men on Ray’s landing craft, only Ray and 6 others made it to the beach. There were only a few of them left.
They came to the sector right here below us. “Easy Red” it was called.
Again and again, Ray ran back into the water. He dragged out one man after another. He was shot through the arm. His leg was ripped open by shrapnel. His back was broken. He nearly drowned.
He had been on the beach for hours, bleeding and saving lives, when he finally lost consciousness. He woke up the next day on a cot beside another badly wounded soldier. He looked over and saw his brother Bill.
They made it. They made it. They made it.
At 98 years old, Ray is here with us today, with his fourth Purple Heart and his third Silver Star from Omaha. (Applause.)
Ray, the free world salutes you. (Applause.) Thank you, Ray. (Applause.)
Almost impossible to watch this. It’s so strong and touching.
Look how graciously the French contribution is feted:
Before this place was consecrated to history, the land was owned by a French farmer, a member of the French resistance.
These were great people. These were strong and tough people.
His terrified wife waited out D-Day in a nearby house, holding tight to their little baby girl.
The next day, a soldier appeared. “I’m an American,” he said. “I’m here to help.”
The French woman was overcome with emotion and cried. Days later, she laid flowers on fresh American graves.
Today, her granddaughter, Stefanie, serves as a guide at this cemetery. This week, Stefanie led 92-year-old Marian Wynn of California to see the grave of her brother Don for the very first time.
Marian and Stefanie are both with us today. And we thank you for keeping alive the memories of our precious heroes.
Thank you. (Applause.)
9,388 young Americans rest beneath the white crosses and Stars of David arrayed on these beautiful grounds.
Each one has been adopted by a French family that thinks of him as their own. They come from all over France to look after our boys.
They kneel. They cry. They pray. They place flowers. And they never forget.
Today, America embraces the French people and thanks you for honoring our beloved dead.
Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you.
And he pushes on towards the present:
The American sons and daughters who saw us to victory were no less extraordinary in peace. They built families. They built industries. They built a national culture that inspired the entire world.
In the decades that followed, America defeated communism, secured civil rights, revolutionized science, launched a man to the moon, and then kept on pushing to new frontiers. And, today, America is stronger than ever before. (Applause.)
Seven decades ago, the warriors of D-Day fought a sinister enemy who spoke of a thousand-year empire.
In defeating that evil, they left a legacy that will last not only for a thousand years, but for all time — for as long as the soul knows of duty and honor; for as long as freedom keeps its hold on the human heart.
To the men who sit behind me, and to the boys who rest in the field before me, your example will never, ever grow old. (Applause.)
Your legend will never tire. Your spirit — brave, unyielding, and true — will never die.
Dare one say that it’s … just a bit too long and repetitive? Yes. But it’s nonetheless a magnificent speech – up there with this speech of speeches: