tv [untitled] CSPAN June 6, 2009 9:30am-10:00am EDT
were we're going to continue to watch the ceremony in france, where right now french president is making his speech. we want to take your calls and we're watching this video. and the numbers are on your screen. if we'll also be taking calls from families of veterans and veterans of warled war two. -- world war ii.
we'll be taking your calls until president obama gets up to make his speech. in addition to president obama and president sarkozy, the prime minister as well as britain's prince charles, presumably all of them will be making speeches today as part of the memorial. the commemoration of the 65th anniversary of d-day. our first call from arlington, virginia. caller: thank you very much. i wanted to just say, number one, that i was delighted that you were playing president sarkozy live. i lived in france.
i'm just sorry for the americans listening to this that there was no translation because it was extremely touching to pay tribute. >> tell us about what he said. >> he talked about. he went through a tribute to the canadians and what they had done. he said for the canadians there was no need for them, their land wasn't in danger. there was no need to be taken overtaken fwi germans. but he also spoke about the fear that these young 20-year-old soldiers must have imagined when they were coming to shore and to see the huge guns facing down. he said they realized that they either had to fight to kill or to be killed. and he said imagine what these young sons of farmers and the young sons of factory workers
must have felt in a situation like that when they were just 20 years old. and he talked about the broad expanse of the beaches. and he said at that time it was impossible to walk the beach and to feel the sand under your feet because there were so many dead bodies on that beach. >> thank you for your interpretation, your translation from french president sarkozy. we appreciate it. from www.d-day museum.co.you can k, some of the information regarding d day by the numbers, the allies landed with about 156,000 troops in normandy. the american forces landed, numbered about 73,000, 23,000 250 on utah beach. 34,000 250 on omaha beach and over 1500 air borne troops.
21,400 britance landed on juneo beach. and 7900 british air borne troops came in from the skies. back to the phones. oakland, california. go ahead. caller: good morning. every time i watch your program on d-day, i never hear anything about the participation of africa or our ex-clone yl powers. oim from west africa. we have the second, the most natural beach in the world. the ships from all these powers came to our shores to collect
possessions and water -- positions and water. our men were sent to these wars from my jeeria. a lot of them participated and i'm sure others participated for the french clone yl matters. yet, nobody ever talks about the participation of african countries in these wars. i was six years old and i coming into our city. so how come nobody ever talks about the participation of the african soldiers in this war? host: you have today, and thank you for enlightening us. caller: good morning. host: ron, you're a family member of a vet? caller: i'm a vet nam vet and my uncle landed in omaha.
host: what did he tell you about his participation? caller: he was a ranger. and i don't know if people remember this but the rangers had a battalion wiped out by the germans and after that they disbanded the regiment and they sprinkled the rangers back in and they were the scouts or the forward guys of each rifle company. and so my uncle went through with a push to st. lieu and was wounded at d plus 12 just outside of st. lieu. my uncle served at heart break ridge in korea. and then i served in the marine corps in vietnam. my older brothers served in the army rangers. his wife also was in the mountain division. my younger brother served in the navy for ten years and his daughter stacy was nominated twice as military photographer for the year in iraq.
so we do have a history with this. and i would like to say to all the people out there, honor the veterans. because if it wasn't for them, they wouldn't be able to enjoy the benefits that they have today. host: thank you very much for your call. our next call comes from new york city, as we look at prime minister harper from canada. he is also speaking french. we are going to continue to take calls in english. caller: i enlisted in the navy because i didn't want to go to the army because i didn't want to go to europe because i had relatives over in germany. i know i didn't have no relatives in japan but i would have went wherever they sent me but they sent me to the pacific and i put three years in there. it's a very emotional day for
me. host: joseph, thank you very much for your call. we are going to dip into the speech now by canadian prime minister harper. >> that even if the engines had stopped or broken down, sheer will power would have driven the craft to shore. [speaking french] the iron will of those troops, the careful planning of their commarneds, and the unwaivering
support of their fellow citizens back home resulted in victory that day and in the eventual triumph of good over evil in the months that followed. this was the most spectacular achievement of what has famously and rightly been described as the greatest generation. the fathers and mothers of today's leaders, the fathers and mothers of my childhood. it was their most spectacular achievement but it was certainly not their only achievement. for having fought against oppression, racism, and cruelty here in europe, they would return to canada, and turn their resolve to building a society more fair, more equal, and more compassionate than the one they left behind. and with similar commitment but this time greater patience, they would also win the quar and overcome the tyranny of communism as well. as the numbers of this our
greatest generation dwindle, we ask ourselves how are we to honor them? how can we ever truly thank them? as every canadian school child has been taught, from the time of our nation's presence in flanders nearly a century ago, there is only one answer, to take the tomp from their failing hands and carry it high. our own world reminds us constantly of the crying need to safeguard and to advance the vision and values for which our parents' generation fought, for which they died and which they lived. [speaking french]
and today, just as we remember the lives of the canned dan, french, american, british and other allied soldiers who lie beneath these sands, so we think of the courageous men and women of our alliance who serve shoulders to shoulder in oofing afghanistan to bring light to people who have only known darkness and despair. and we remember that our peace and prosperity have come not only with a price but also with an obligation to do what we can
to share our good for tune with others, including those elsewhere who to this day endure violence, oppression, and deprivation. [speaking french] so let us resolve thai on behalf of our hon -- today on behalf of our honored veterans, on behalf of the heroic souls who came to liberate these shores to never forget, to never surrender, and to never waiver in our determination to
defend freedom, to advance democracy, and to seek justice for all people. merci [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the prime minister of grate britain, gordon -- great britain, gordon brown. >> 65 years ago, in the thin light of a gray dawn, more than a thousand small craft took to a rough sea on a day that will be forever a day of bravery. on that june morning, the young of our nations stepped out on to these beaches below and into history. and as long as freedom lives,
their deeds will never die. and now, more than half a century on, it is an honor for me to speak, for the british people, alongside friends, president sarkozy, president obama, prime minister harper, and with his royal highness, the prince of weals, each of us representing our nations, we remember those who advanced great h grain of sand by grain of sand, utterly determined amid the bullets and the bloodshed that freedom would not be pushed back into the sea but would rise from these beaches below to liberate a continent and to save a generation. so this is sacred ground. this day marks the triumph of
right over wrong, of truth over lies, the victory of human decency over hatred and the holocaust. for it is the only place from which after five years of total war and 40 million deaths europe could be liberated. this is the place where the break through to victory occurred. the place from where you can chart the war's end and the start of a new world. and this is the place where britain, america, canada, and france came together as one. people talk of europe and america sometimes as continents that are an ocean apart. separated by thousands of miles of water and hundreds of years of different traditions. but on june 1944, at this place, and in that moment, together than at any time in any century.
and we are eternal allies now because of this. allies not for a season but for centuries ever more. people bound now for time in memorial for a shared endeavor and an unshakeable faith. those men who risked everything 65 years ago demonstrated that although tyranny may suppress, it cannot endure forever. they proved that dictatorship may for a time have a power to dictate, but that it will not in the end decide the course of a human journey. they enacted the belief that as long as one of us is not free, no one of us is free. they made real the timeless values enslinde in the bill of rights, the deck cla ration of independence, the charter of liberty, and the call of liberty, equality, and fraternt. and in doing so, they embodied
not just the hopes of one age, but the dreams of all ages. so intense was the cooperation between our nations that when winston churchill regularly asked to see strategists who were planning d-day he never knew until they arrived whether the officer would be british, canadian, or american. and so next to omaha beach, we join president obama to pay tribute to the american soldiers who gave their lives on omaha beach for people they never knew, and yet people who have lived in freedom thanks to their sacrifice and valor. and i know that the whole of britain will be proud that jack woods is today decorated by president sarkozy, and alongside brave and fearless canadians, he landed on juneo beach and with his comrades
went on to capture five bridges. and the hand that will today receive the legion of honor from the president of france is the hand that liberated one of the first french villages to be freed. and there is an unbroken line from what happened here to the battle of the bulk to the crossesing of the rine to the fall of the third rike to the eend of europe's enslavement. on d-day the sons of liberation will head right across europe, all over france resistance fighters began to below up bridges and railroad lines. and in amterdam a young girl ann franks was inspired to write of the news of d-day as too wonderful, almost too like a fairy tale. and for her even at the age of 14 it was an affirmation that humanity can triumph in the face of carnage. she wrote, i still believe that
people are good at heart. and these words written before her short life ended in a diary she thought nobody would ever reach. are perhaps the greatest eeptaff of those grages men and women, that people are good at heart is an inspiration for another generation of courageous men and women in our armed forces whose goodness today is to work for peace in every corner of the world. we salute the devotion of our armed forces, our gratitude to them and our families must always be equal to what they give. above all else, for you, if remaining few, the veterans who have outlived that day, that battle, and that war, who gather here today with your families and with your children, so our children and our children's children will gather here year after year to honor you long after you are
gone. and far beyond these moments of reflection and remembrance the threads of your lives and your ultimate victory are already woven into the fabric of our world. because if anybody had said on june 6, 1944 that we would create a new age of peace and unity in a europe that had been torn by centuries of conflict, if anybody would have said we would have witnessed a wall raised up by a hand of totalitarian power and then torn down brick by brick of people yearning to be free. if anybody would have said those in june of 44, who would have dared to believe that this was all possible. but the impossible has happened and europe is united. and now we must complete our great covenant with the dead of d-day. our promise that we would build
a world worthy of their sacrifice. how can we say that we have achieved all that we set out to do, the promise of peace and justice, when the shadow of nuclear proliferation and war stid spreads around the earth. when darfur, burma is in chains, zimbabwe is in agony. the mortal thread of poverty, hunger, ill litssy, disease and warrant. so there are dreams of liberation still to be realized, commitments still too be redeemed. vows to the dead still to be kept. so we must be as if liberators for our day and our generation, too. today we are only halfway to honoring the pledges we made for a new world. we are only halfway away from these beaches to the shining future that truly global society to which they open the way. the beacon of hope that was lit with the liberation of europe
must now lead us on. on to a world free of the danger of nuclear weapons, with all asshuring the mutual security of each against terror and war. lead us on to a world finally delivers from the evil of poverty and the sin of prejudice where intolerance is never tolerated, where no one suffers persecution or discrimination on grounds of race, or faith or differences of identity and nationality. the new world we reach for is not preordained or predetermined. just as victory at normandy could not be predicted or presumed, so too the success of our causes today is not inevitable. but neither is it impossible. if our beliefs are god given, our path to achieve them is man-made. and this place of all places affirm that free people can bend history in the direction of our best hopes.
so it was on d-day. so it is today. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states, barack obama. [applause] >> good afternoon. thank you, president sarkozy, prime minister brown, prime minister harper. and prince charles, for being here today. veterans affairs for making the trip out here to join us.
thanks also to susan eisenhower whose grand father began this mission 65 years ago with a simple charge, ok, let's go. and to a world war ii veteran who returned home to sive proud and distinguished career as a united states senator and a national leader, bob dole. [applause] i'm not the first american president to come and mark this anniversary. and i likely will not be the last. this is an event that is long brought to this coast both heads of state and grateful citizens. veterans and their loved ones. the liberated and their
liberators. it's been written about and spoken of and depicted in countless books and films and speeches. and long after our time on this earth has passed, one word will still bring forth the pride and awe of men and women who will never meet the heroes who sit before us. d-day. why is this? of all the battles in all the wars across p the span of human history, why does this day hold such a revered place in our memory? what is it about the struggle that took place on the sands a few short steps from here that brings us back to remember year after year after year? part of it i think is the size
of the odds of the weight against success, for three centuries nobody had been able to cross the english channel into normandy and it had never been more difficult than in 1944. that was the year that hitler ordered his top field marshall to fortify the atlantic wall against a seaboard invasion. from the tip of norway to southern france, the nazis lined steep cliffs with machine guns and artillery. low lying areas were flooded to block passage, sharpnd poles awaited paratroopers. mines were laid on the beaches beneath the water. and by the time of the invasion, half a million germans waited for the allies along the coast between holland and northern france. at dawn, on june 6, the allies came. the best chance for victory had been for the british world air corps to take out the guns on
the cliffs while air borne divisions parachuted behind enemy lines. but all did not go according to plan. paratroopers landed miles from their marks, while the fog and clouds prevented allied planes from destroying the guns on the cliffs. so when the ships landed here on omaha, the an unimagined he will awaited the men. many never made it out of the boats. and yet, despite all of this, one by one, the allied forces made their way to shore. here, and at utah and juneo. golden sword. they were americans, british and canadian. soon, the paratroopers found each other and fought their way back. the rangers scaled the cliffs. and by the end of the day, which we stand was free once
more. the sheer improbability of this victory is part of what makes d-day so memorable. it also rises from the clarity of purpose with which the war was waged. we live in a world of competing beliefs and claims about what is true. it's a world of varied religions and cultures and forms of government. in such a world it's all too rare for a struggle to emerge that speaks to something universal about humanity. the second world war did that. no man whoshed blood or lost a brother would say that war is good. but all know that this war was essential. for what we faced in nazi totalitarianism was not just a battle of competing interests,
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