Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ronald Reagan: These Are The Boys Of Point du Hoc, A D-Day Remembrance

I came across this wonderfully produced video several years back. Wyatt McIntyre, the creator, says it was his first attempt at editing. All I can say is he captured the very essence of the events surrounding the greatest amphibious assault in human history, and the turning point of WWII. The beginning of the end.

The speech, delivered as only Ronald Reagan could, was given on June 6, 1984, the 40th anniversary of the Normandy invasion. President Reagan was standing at Point du Hoc with the surviving Rangers who defied certain death and scaled those cliffs, defeating the Germans.

It's rather bittersweet, that as we remember this great triumph of good over evil, that we must also remember that we lost Ronald Reagan on June 5, 2004. Listening to this great speech, we remember why he is so missed.

There will no doubt be any number of WWII flicks on television honoring those who fought on this day in history, but if you don't watch any other movie,  watch Darryl F. Zanuck's masterpiece, The Longest Day. This is a big movie, told from both the Allied and German point of view. It has an all star cast, and is one of the best WWII movies ever made.

As you go through your day, remember these great heroes who fought on the beaches of Normandy. Many died so that we remain free today. It's easy to sit back and take it all for granted, but on this day, the 6th of June, 1944, the entire world was in peril, and victory was still a long way away, and not at all certain. We own these men everything. We must never let their memory fade. 

This really doesn't have anything to do with D-Day, but it is so moving, nonetheless. Everyone knows the Star Spangled Banner, but how many know the part we sing is only the first of  four verses?

This Marine knew, and simply stunned the audience at a recent Tea Party event:

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Here's the entire poem, as written by Francis Scott Key:

First Verse

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Second Verse

On the shore dimly seen, thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines in the stream;
'Tis the Star-Spangled Banner, Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Third Verse

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Fourth Verse

Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto, "In God is our trust"
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave! 

Video and verse courtesy of The Right Scoop

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