The tide has come in and gone out every day for 75 years.
The cold water has washed away the hot blood spilled by so many Americans on the beaches of Normandy.
It hasn’t washed away what that blood bought us.
It didn’t buy us a peaceful nation. It bought us a more peaceful world.
It didn’t buy our freedom. That was purchased in another war. It bought us an opportunity to share what we had built with others.
It didn’t buy respect, because you can’t buy respect. It earned respect because respect was due.
It didn’t make America a tyrant. It made America a leader.
And as Americans, we must continue to earn — and to merit — the generations of rewards we have reaped because of that spilled blood.
We have an obligation to continue to lead the world.
We have a duty to model freedom.
We have a responsibility to honor the sacrifices made by our men and women for peace, not only on American soil or French sand but on every battlefield, every ocean, every sky where we have staked a claim for liberty.
They bequeathed us a new world, and that inheritance cannot be squandered.
The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war. For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home. Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.