DDay 40th Anniversary

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from Liberty Institute,

It is Memorial Day, so let’s remember why those we honor sacrificed for all of us.

On the 40th anniversary of D-Day, President Ronald Reagan stood atop a windy cliff giving a tribute to the surviving U.S. Army Rangers who scaled the 100-foot heights of Pointe du Hoc, France, to take out Nazi guns pounding our troops on the beaches.

Reagan addressed them and asked a question. He said;

“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?”

As the now-gray-haired Rangers blinked back tears and listened, Reagan answered his own questions, saying:

“We look at you and, 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.”

Reagan reminded the audience that prayer vigils were occurring throughout America the night of the invasion, “that in Georgia they were filling churches at 4 a.m., in Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying . . .”

He said, “Something else helped the men of D-Day: their rock-hard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause.”

Our First Commander-in-Chief understood this. General George Washington established chaplains in the Continental Army, and demanded religious liberty for all soldiers (even rebuking those who were intolerant of other soldiers’ open religious beliefs). He said,

“The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger–The General hopes and trusts, that every officer and man, will endeavor so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier . . .”

Without God and religious freedom in our military, we would be left with a secular fighting force accountable to other humans—a very dangerous thing. And without freedom to acknowledge God openly, our service personnel would be deprived of comfort during, as Washington said, “times of public distress and danger.”

That’s why religious imagery is fittingly found at military cemeteries, veterans memorials, and monuments across the nation. As the Tomb of the Unkowns at Arlington National Cemetery says, “Known Only to God.” Belief in God is the rock on which our brave defenders stand. And that’s why Liberty Institute fights to keep that rock from being removed by those who would do so.

So on this Memorial Day, 2014, let us remember the admonition of President Reagan as he closed his D-Day anniversary address to the “boys of Pointe du Hoc”:

“Here, in this place where the West held together, 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 [General] Matthew Ridgeway listened: ‘I will not fail thee nor forsake thee’ . . . let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.”

May God bless you this Memorial Day.

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