英语演讲46.Ronald Reagan - 40th Anniversary of D-Day

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2008-10-16 22:19

英语演讲46.Ronald Reagan - 40th Anniversary of D-Day

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46.Ronald Reagan - 40th Anniversary of D-Day

We're here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent
to liberty. For four long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow.
Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe
was enslaved and the world prayed for its rescue. Here, in Normandy, the rescue began. Here,
the Allies stood and fought against tyranny, in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.

We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but
forty years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with
the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June, 1944, two
hundred and twentyfive Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs.

Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer
and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the
mightiest of these guns were here, and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers at the edge of the cliffs, shooting down at
them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to
climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up.
When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab
another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing.

Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at
the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two
hundred and twentyfive came here. After two days of fighting, only ninety could still bear arms.

And behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust
into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there. These are the boys of
Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped
free a continent. And these are the heroes who helped end a war. Gentlemen, I look at you
and I think of the words of Stephen Spender's poem. You are men who in your "lives fought
for life and left the vivid air signed with your honor."

I think I know what you may be thinking right now thinking "we were just part of a bigger
effort. everyone was brave that day." Well everyone was. Do you remember the story of Bill
Millin of the 51st Highlanders? Forty years ago today, British troops were pinned down near a
bridge, waiting desperately for help.

Suddenly, they heard the sound of bagpipes, and some thought they were dreaming.
Well, they weren't. They looked up and saw Bill Millin with his bagpipes, leading the reinforcements
and ignoring the smack of the bullets into the ground around him.

Lord Lovat was with him Lord Lovat of Scotland, who calmly announced when
he got to the bridge, "Sorry, I'm a few minutes late," as if he'd been delayed
by a traffic jam, when in truth he'd just come from the bloody fighting on Sword Beach, which he and his men
had just taken.

There was the impossible valor of the Poles, who threw themselves between the enemy and
the rest of Europe as the invasion took hold. and the unsurpassed courage of the Canadians
who had already seen the horrors of war on this coast. They knew what awaited them there,
but they would not be deterred. And once they hit Juno Beach, they never looked back.

All of these men were part of a roll call of honor with names that spoke of a pride as bright as
the colors they bore. The Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Poland's 24th Lancers, the Royal Scots'
Fusiliers, the Screaming Eagles, the Yeomen of England's armored divisions, the forces of Free
France, the Coast Guard's "Matchbox Fleet," and you, the American Rangers.

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 selfpreservation
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.
And you were right not to doubt.

You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and
democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government
ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight
tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.

The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading
through the darkness back home. They fought or felt in their hearts, though they couldn't
know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at
4:00 am. In Kansas they were
kneeling on their porches and praying. And in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell.

Something else helped the men of Dday. their rockhard belief that Providence would have a
great hand in the events that 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're about to do." Also, that night, General Matthew Ridgway on
his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: "I will
not fail thee nor forsake thee." These are the things that impelled them. these are the things that shaped the
unity of the Allies.

When the war was over, there were lives to be rebuilt and governments to be returned to the
people. There were nations to be reborn. Above all, there was a new peace to be assured.
These were huge and daunting tasks. But the Allies summoned strength from the faith, belief,
loyalty, and love of those who fell here. They rebuilt a new Europe together. There was first a
great reconciliation among those who had been enemies, all of whom had suffered so greatly.
The United States did its part, creating the Marshall Plan to
help rebuild our allies and our former enemies. The Marshall Plan led to
the Atlantic alliance a great alliance that serves to this day as our shield for freedom, for prosperity, and for peace.

In spite of our great efforts and successes, not all that followed the end of the war was happy
or planned. Some liberated countries were lost. The great sadness of this loss echoes down
to our own time in the streets of Warsaw, Prague, and East Berlin. The Soviet troops that came
to the center of this continent did not leave when peace came. They're still
there, uninvited, unwanted, unyielding, almost forty years after the war. Because of this, allied forces still
stand on this continent. Today, as forty years ago, our armies are here for only one purpose:
to protect and defend democracy. The only territories we hold are memorials like this one and
graveyards where our heroes rest.

We in America have learned bitter lessons from two world wars. It is better to be here ready
to protect the peace, than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after
freedom is lost. We've learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable
response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent.

But we try always to be prepared for peace, prepared to deter aggression, prepared to
negotiate the reduction of arms, and yes, prepared to reach out again in the spirit of
reconciliation. In truth, there is no reconciliation we would welcome more than a reconciliation
with the Soviet Union, so, together, we can lessen the risks of war, now and forever.

It's fitting to remember here the great losses also suffered by the Russian people during World
War II. Twenty million perished, a terrible price that testifies to all the world the necessity of
ending war. I tell you from my heart that we in the United States do not want war. We want
to wipe from the face of the earth the terrible weapons that man now
has in his hands. And I tell you, we are ready to seize that beachhead. We look for some sign from the Soviet Union
that they are willing to move forward, that they share our desire and love for peace, and that
they will give up the ways of conquest. There must be a changing there that will allow us to
turn our hope into action.

We will pray forever that someday that changing will come. But for now, particularly today, it
is good and fitting to renew our commitment to each other, to our freedom, and to the alliance that protects it.

We're bound today by what bound us 40 years ago, the same loyalties, traditions, and beliefs.
We're bound by reality. The strength of America's allies is vital to the United States, and the
American security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe's democracies.
We were with you then. we're with you now. Your hopes are our hopes, and your destiny is our destiny.

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 Matthew Ridgway listened: "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee."

Strengthened by their courage and heartened by their value [valor] and borne 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