Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love.
The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge—and pray God we have not lost it—that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause....
...some things are worth dying for. One’s country is worth dying for and democracy is worth dying for because its the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. ...
Something else helped the men of D-day, the rock hard belief that Providence would have a great hand of what would unfold here--that God was an Ally in this great cause.
And so the night before the invasion when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer, he told them, ‘Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we are about to do.'
Also that night, General Matthew Ridgeway, on his cot, listening for the promise that God made to Joshua: ‘I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.’
...Let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgeway listened: ‘I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.’ Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their value and born by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died. Thank you very much and God bless you all.
--Pres. Ronald Reagan Normandy Speech
President Reagan's Address at the Ceremony Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, D-day at Point-du-Hoc - 6/6/84.