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tv   Early Start With John Berman and Christine Romans  CNN  June 6, 2014 2:00am-3:01am PDT

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in just moments, president obama will be speaking at omaha beach, 1 of 17 heads of state in france to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the d-day invasion. thousands are there. thousands have gathered in this historic seaside village to honor 150,000 soldiers who stormed those beaches to liberate europe, to help defeat adolf hitler's third reich. white house correspondent michelle kosinski is joining us live from france where all of this happened 70 years ago and where today beautiful, shining sun on people who are remembering a day that was a dark, stormy day that changed the course of history. >> reporter: right, i know, and most of us know these images from movies nowadays, if we don't know someone wholllly lived through that day. i mean, just the horror of it all. it was called hell's beach after the fact, so it's nice that they get this beautiful, sunny day in france to commemorate this.
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behind us is the american cemetery, where more than 9,000 are buried. it's just as far as your eye can see these white, shining crosses. and in front of each of them today, a french flag and an american flag. further behind us is where president obama is sitting with president hollande of france. they are flanked by veterans from both countries. and i think that's been the most remarkable thing. i mean, first you get a sense of the quietness of the arrivals of these people with their family, the solemnity of the day, the memories that must be in their heads. and we're watching president obama. right now their heads are bowed in remembrance, but we can see him shaking hands with some of the men sitting around him, having a few words with them. and just watching the veterans arrive, many of them in wheelchairs, some of them walking with canes, advanced age for sure, but keep in mind, some of them were only 16 years old on d-day. so, they're just in their mid-80s or upper 80s today.
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and to see the looks on their faces while the american anthem was played after the french anthem, and you just wonder, you know, what are they thinking today, the memories that they must have. some of them look very proud, but we know so much emotion is wrapped up in this day as well. and in a few minutes now, we'll hear president obama speak, and he's going to be talking about those sacrifices, the lives lost, the risks taken, changed the course of human history, really, on this momentous day, in the name of human freedom, christine. >> tell us a little bit about 17 heads of state there. they're remembering the past. at the same time, though, they've got a lot of business on hand for now, especially this frayed tensions with russia, you know. and russia was such an important part of world war ii. 20 million russians died. in fact, the sacrifices on the russian side one of the reasons that this opening of a second
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front was made possible for this invasion of europe. >> reporter: absolutely. and fighting the nazis in the forests in winter. i mean, the sacrifices there were remarkable. and president obama gave heed to that in the remarks that he's delivered on this foreign trip. as have other leaders. so, it's interesting, because you had the g-7 meeting right before this commemoration that was supposed to be the g-8 before russia was essentially kicked out of the club. the crisis in ukraine and russia's behavior most recently overshadowed that meeting. i mean, that was the dominant topic of discussion what to do about russian aggression. then you had this commemoration where russia is very much a part of it. so, world leaders didn't want that crisis involving russia now to overshadow the commemoration of this day. so, they really spoke about the appropriateness of russia being present for this, being able to kind of separate those two out.
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you know, on the one hand, you have the g-7 and events of today. on the other hand, you have a commemoration and russia's actions 70 years ago, much, much different situation, obviously. but you also have these meetings with world leaders. russia met with france, england and germany one on one, but not with the united states. president obama met with france and england, but he did say maybe he would come into contact with vladimir putin here. there's a world leaders lunch this afternoon. sure, they might have a sort of meet-and-greet, but president obama made it clear to reporters yesterday that if they did exchange words, that president obama would be sure to carry the message that he's been sending throughout the crisis in ukraine, that russia needs to start de-escalating the situation. i mean, we've been hearing that phrase now for months, and that russia's behavior in many ways continues to be unacceptable,
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christine. >> looks like francois hollande, the president of france, just beginning to speak right now. thank you, michelle kosinski, for that. we'll let you get back to listening to the event. >> what's interesting, listening to the french president speak and the american president sitting right there. a moment ago they were sitting there with their heads bowed, surrounded by the soldiers, the men who landed on d-day, and it's not often, i think, that you see world leaders like presidents obama and hollande overwhelmed, but they almost did look overwhelmed by the sacrifice of the men around them. these world leaders seem small in comparison to the men who are sitting there -- >> you're right. >> -- because of the sacrifice that they all had made. such an interesting, interesting vision. and again, president obama will be speaking in just a few minutes. the world leaders right now are gathered at omaha beach. that was one of five of the key landing sites during the d-day invasion. sword beach was another. one of the beaches stained by blood that day 70 years ago this morning. that's where we find christiane
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amanpour on this beautiful day, as the world looks back 70 years, but also in some ways, christiane, looks forward as well. >> reporter: that's exactly right. it is hard to imagine this beauty today compared with the devastation 70 years ago, not just the sun compared to the gail fo gale force and terrible weather. the massive motto, the most ambitious military venture ever assembled crept through a 36-hour window of weather to do what they did. and who knows what would have happened if general eisenhower hadn't banked everything on the meteorological report from the royal air force. and then those british forces that were landed here at sword beach, not just on -- not just disembarking on the beaches but also previously their comrades had come down by plane, and their task was to grab the bridges, to prevent the germans to be able to come to these
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normandy bridges and also to be able to secure their ability to bring their material, their weaponry and to support what was not just one day on d-day but what ended up being many, many weeks of the battle of normandy. 130,000 forces landed on d-day, but by the end of july that year, 1944, 1.5 million allied forces had landed. and by the end of the battle of normandy, 600,000 people would have been killed, would have been wounded, were missing. on d-day itself, 10,000 casualties on the first day of this war. it is unparalleled in modern human history. and it was so devastating that even the military sensors could not put out the video and the filming which they had done on that day for years and years and years. and to be truthful, it was really only until "saving private ryan" that came out,
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that film by steven spielberg in 1998, that you really saw the carnage of what happened on these beaches this day in 1944. so, yes, these leaders are paying tribute to this great, great generation, all men, all children, virtually, teenagers and in their young 20s, who gave everything so that europe could be free. and the french are very, very aware, and they have said that this day is to say thank you and to pay tribute to those allies who not just liberated occupied france but then went on to liberate europe, and how different it would have been had this day not have happened and how different, obviously, it would have been had they not been victorious. and the speeches that general eisenhower gave and prime minister winston churchill and the french president in exile, general degall, gave on that day to this day really make your hair stand up on end. they were so bold, so brave, they risked everything to make this work. and you know, these presidents
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are now paying tribute to those who have fallen, and because of whom we now can walk in freedom. so, it's massive, really. >> the eyes of the world are upon you is what president eisenhower said. and i think 70 years later, the eyes of the world still upon the brave men who fought there. christiane amanpour at sword beach, thank you so much. >> thousands of soldiers, of course, paid the ultimate price, as christiane said, during the normandy invasion. today, france's gold beach is a pristine destination with its white sands, the blue-green waters. 70 years ago, it was stained by the blood of hundreds of allied soldiers. jim bittermann is near the shores of gold beach right now in france. and just remarkable to be there, jim, on any day is to be overwhelmed by the significance of where you are on the map and what happened there, but today, 70 years, it's even more so. >> reporter: well, exactly, that's right, christine. in fact, we're about halfway
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along these beaches, 60 miles of beaches where the landings took place, and here at aromange, this is the site of the artificial harbor that was built. just to give you an idea of the kind of thing they had to plan for, they weren't going to take after the disasters of 1942, they were not going to take any of the harbors, the natural harbors that they could have along the coast. they were worried about doing that. so, they brought these artificial harbors like this one here, created out of gigantic, floating concrete casons, which were floated across the channel from england and were sunk here and from which they made a break water and then were able to make a pier that would bring in all the vehicles and what not that they needed to. just in the first five days, they brought in 55,000 vehicles. and we see today on the beach here some of those vehicles,
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probably, a lot of these are war surplus vehicles that the reconstructors here and the collectors have carefully restored, and they've brought them out today for this big day. as the tide has gone out here -- we've seen the tide come in on these vehicles. they've been just an invasion of all these reconstructed vehicles and the renovated vehicles, and it's quite a sight here. there's been a couple ceremonies here as well this morning. we had something with the dutch king and queen. they were here. and there are ceremonies all over the place having competing ceremonies, as it were. john and christine? >> jim bittermann, thank you for that this morning. >> interesting, those crowded beaches, and think that that is, you know, small, tiny, puny compared to what was going on on those beaches 70 years ago. i want to bring in noted historian ken davis, "don't know much about history" author, among others. many experts have been commemorating the d-day
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invasion, really since ronald reagan, some 30 years ago. but so different for reagan. he was paying respects really to people of his own age. as time passes, our direct connection to these men dwindles. >> absolutely. i'm reminded that bill clinton, when he went, spoke to the noted british historian john keegan and had to really get a fill-in on what had happened there, of course. we are removed from it. war slips into that black hole that we unfortunately call american history. this event was part of my father's, my parents' generation. i grew up with it from the longest day through "saving private ryan," it's been part of our legend, the mythology of war stories we tell. but one of the real problems, i think, in talking about world war ii and history is that we have lost the sense of personal involvement that was so true for americans during that time. war was in every household during world war ii. we're very much removed from it now. so, this has receded into the past. it's getting a little bit far
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away, but we cannot forget what these things really meant. i'm just reminded also of memorial day having just passed, the words of lincoln, that these dead shall not have died in vain. that's really what we're thinking about today. >> when we talk about what these men did, well, first of all, what the war planners did, this massive after matta, something that had never been attempted before -- >> or since. >> or since. the 36-hour window where president eisenhower had one piece of weather intelligence to go on. talk about how remarkable that they pulled this thing off. i can't believe this pulled this off. >> it is extraordinary when you look back at all the planning and all of the deceptions that had to go on. of course, there was tremendous fear that they knew that german spies were all over england. they were actually using some of them that they had turned, double agents, to deceive and create the impression that the invasion would happen somewhere else. there were even inflatable tanks created.
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so, the whole scope of this planning was extraordinary. just the numbers are extraordinary. and i hate to talk about history in terms of numbers because it's real stories of real people, as we're seeing in these ceremonies, but the numbers are astonishing. 5,000 ships, hundreds of thousands of men. the paratroopers, we've barely even spoken about that, that the men were being dropped at night behind enemy lines -- >> in the wrong place. >> often in the wrong place. dummy paratroopers used as a decoy in other places. so, the planning was extraordinary. there were also only these moments that this could happen, because not only the weather had to be good, the tides had to be right. this day was perfect because there was also a full moon that night. so, all of these things play into this incredible, incredibly complicated scenario that plays out. >> and you talk about how history often turns into mythology, but in some ways, what makes d-day, what makes world war ii so enormous is that
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it shaped what america became and is today. >> absolutely. you know, we talk about the sacrifice of the soldiers, and that's all part of it, but one of the things, and this goes into the numbers of ships and the planes and all that, is that america had become what fdr, franklin d. roosevelt, called the arsenal of democracy. the extraordinary ability to produce the planes, the warships, the tanks, all of the material of war that went into this. we also have to bring up the fact that for my generation growing up, we did not hear about the soviets' involvement in world war ii. they weren't the allies anymore, they were the enemy. so, we didn't really understand the tremendous sacrifice, obvio obviously, americans lost, british lost, all the allies lost. we're talking about tens of thousands of americans and british. there were tens of millions of
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soviets and russians, civilians and soldiers, and that's part of the story that's so fascinating, to have putin here today in this ceremony, which is somewhat unusual and certainly extraordinary. >> and i think it's safe to say it still drives the russian psyche as well even today, 70 years later. >> absolutely. >> stick around, kenneth davis. >> thank you. >> we're waiting for the president to speak in a few minutes. ahead, we'll have more of our continuing coverage of the 70th anniversary of d-day.
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let's get right to the president speaking in normandy, france. >> if prayer were made of sound, the skies over england thatdeaf world. captains paced their decks, pilots tapped their gauges, commanders pored over maps, fully aware that for all the months of meticulous planning, everything could go wrong. the winds, the tides, the element of surprise, and above all, the audacious bet that what waited on the other side of the channel would compel men not to shrink away but to charge ahead.
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fresh-faced gis rubbed trinkets, kissed pictures of sweethearts, checked and rechecked their equipment. g god, asked one, give me guts. and in the predawn hours, planes rumbled down runways, gliders and paratroopers slipped through the sky, giant screws began to turn on an armada that looked more like ships than sea, and more than 150,000 souls set off toward this tiny sliver of sand upon which hung more than the fate of a war, but rather, the course of human history.
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president hollande, distinguished guests, i am honored to return here today to pay tribute to the men and women of a generation who defied every danger. among them are veterans of d-day. and gentlemen, we are truly humbled by your presence here today.
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>> just last week, i received a letter from a french citizen. "dear mr. president and the american people," he wrote, "we are honored to welcome you, to thank you again for all the pain and efforts of the american people and others in our common struggle for freedom." today we say the same to the people of france. thank you. especially for the generosity
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that you've shown the americans who have come here over the generations, to these beaches and to the sacred place of rest for 9,387 americans. at the end of the war, when our ships set off for america filled with our fallen, tens of thousands of liberated europeans turned out to say farewell, and they pledged to take care of the more than 60,000 americans who would remain in cemeteries on this continent. in the words of one man, "we will take care of the fallen as if their tombs were our children's." and the people of france, you have kept your word, like the
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true friends you are. we are forever grateful. here we don't just commemorate victory, as proud of that victory as we are. we don't just honor sacrifice, as grateful as the world is. we come to remember why america and our allies gave so much for the survival of liberty at this moment of maximum peril. we come to tell the story of the men and women who did it so that it remains seared into the memory of a future world. we tell this story for the old
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soldiers who pulled themselves a little straighter today to salute brothers who never made it home. we tell the story for the daughter who clutches a fated photo of her father, forever young, for the child who runs his fingers over colorful ribbons he knows signifies something of great consequence, even if he doesn't yet fully understand why. we tell this story to bear what witness we can to what happened when the boys from america reached omaha beach. by daybreak, blood soaked the water, bombs broke the sky, thousands of paratroopers had dropped into the wrong landing sites, thousands of rounds bit into flesh and sand, entire companies worth of men fell in
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minutes. hell's beach had earned its name. by 8:30 a.m., general omar bradley expected our troops to be a mile inland. six hours after the landings, he wrote, "we held only 10 yards of beach." in this age of instant commentary, the invasion would have swiftly and roundly been declared, as it was by one officer, a debacle. but such a race to judgment would not have taken into account the courage of free men. success may not come with rushing speed, president roosevelt would say that night, "but we shall return again and again." and paratroopers fought through the countryside to find one another. rangers pulled themselves over those cliffs to silence nazi
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guns. to the west, americans took utah beach with relative ease. to the east, the british tore through the coast, fueled by the fury of five years of bombs over london and a solemn vow to fight them on the beaches. the canadians, whose shores had not been touched by war, drove far into france. and here at omaha, troops who finally made it to the sea wall used it as shelter, where a general barked, "if you're rangers, lead the way." by the end of that longest day, this beach had been fought, lost, refought, and won. a piece of europe once again liberated and free.
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hitler's wall was breached, letting loose patton's army to pour into france. within a week, the world's bloodiest beach had become the world's busiest port. within a month, 1 million allied troops thundered through normandy into europe. and as our armies marched across the continent, one pilot said it looked as if the very crust of the earth had shaken loose. the arc de triomphe lit up for the first time in years, and paris was punctuated by shouts of "vive la france, vive la statunis." of course, eaven as we gather here at normandy, we remember that freedom's victory was also made possible by so many others who wore america's uniform.
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two years before he commanded armies, eisenhower's troops sliced through north africa. three times before d-day, our gis stormed the beaches at sicily, salerno, anzio. divisions like the fighting 36th brawled their way through italy, fighting through the mud for months, marching through towns, past waving children before opening the gates to rome. as the dog faces marched to victory in europe, the devil dogs, the marines clawed their way from island to island in the pacific in some of the war's fiercest fighting. and back home, an army of women, including my grandmother, rolled up their sleeves to help build a mighty arsenal of democracy.
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but it was here on these shores that the tide was turned in that common struggle for freedom. what more powerful manifestation of america's commitment to human freedom than the sight of wave after wave after wave of young men boarding those boats to liberate people they had never met? we say it now as if it couldn't be any other way, but in the anals of history, the world had never seen anything like it. and when the war was won, we claimed no spoils of victory. we helped europe rebuild. we claim no land other than the earth where we buried those who gave their lives under our flag and where we stationed those who still serve under it.
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but america's claim, our commitment to liberty, our claim to equality, our claim to freedom and to the inherent dignity of every human being, that claim is written in the blood on these beaches, and it will endure for eternity. normandy, this was democracy's beachhe beachhe beachhead, and our victory in that war decided not just a century but shaked the security and well-being of all posterity. we worked to turn old adversaries into new allies, we built new prosperity, we stood once more with the people of this continent through a long twilight struggle until, finally, a wall tumbled down and an iron curtain, too. and from western europe to east, from south america to southeast
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asia, 70 years of democratic movement spread. nations that once knew only the blinders of fear began to taste the blessings of freedom. none of that would have happened without the men who were willing to lay down their lives for people they had never met and ideals they couldn't live without. none of it would have happened without the troops president roosevelt called the lifeblood of america, the hope of the wor wor world. they left home barely more than boys, returned home heroes. and to their great credit, that is not how this generation -- [ inaudible ] after the war, some put away their medals. were quiet about their service,
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moved on. so some carrying shrapnel and scars found it was much harder. many, like my grandfather, who served in patton's army, lived a quiet life, trading one uniform and set of responsibilities for another. as a teacher or a salesman or a doctor or an engineer, a dad, a grand grandpa. our country made sure millions of them earned a college education, opening up opportunity on an unprecedented scale, and they married those sweethearts and bought new homes and raised families and built businesses, lifting up the greatest middle class the world has ever known. and through it all, they were inspired, i suspect, by memories
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of fallen brothers, memories that drove them to live their lives each day as best they possibly could. whenever the world makes you cynical, stop and think of these men. whenever you lose hope, stop and think of these men. think of wilson calwell who was told he couldn't pilot a plane without a high school degree, so he decided to jump out of a plane instead. and he did here on d-day with 101st airborne when he was just 16 years old. think of harry colcowitz, the jewish son of russian immigrants who fudged his age and enlistment so he could join his friends in the fight. and don't worry, harry, the statute of limitations has
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expired. harry came ashore at utah beach on d-day. and now that he's come back, we said he can have anything he wants for lunch today. he helps liberate this coast, after all. but he said a hamburger would do fine. what's more american than that? think of rock merritt, who saw a recruitment poster asking him if he was man enough to be a paratroop paratrooper, so he signed up on the spot. that decision landed him here on d-day with the 508th regiment, the unit that would suffer heavy casualties. and 70 years later, it's said that all across ft. bragg, they know rock, not just for his exploits on d-day or his 35 years in the army, but because 91-year-old rock merritt still spends his time speaking to the young men and women of today's
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army and still bleeds od green for his 82nd airborne. whenever the world makes you cynical, whenever you doubt that courage and goodness is possible, stop and think of these men. wilson and harry and rock, they are here today, and although i know we already gave them a rousing round of applause, along with all our veterans of d-day, if you could stand, please stand, if not, please raise your hand. let us recognize your service once more. these men waged war so that we might know peace. they sacrificed so that we might be free. they fought in hopes of a day when we'd no longer need to fight. we are grateful to them.
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>> and gentlemen, gentlemen, i want each of you to know that your legacy is in good hands. for, at a time when it has never been more tempting to pursue narrow self-interests, to slough off common endeavor, this generation of americans, a new generation, our men and women of war have chosen to do their part as well. rock, i want you to know that staff sergeant melvin sedillo martin, who's here today, is following in your footsteps. he just had to become an american first, because melvin was born in honduras, moved to the united states, joined the army. after tours in iraq and
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afghanistan, he was reassigned to the 82nd airborne. and sunday, he'll parachute into normandy. i became part of a family of real american heroes, he said, the par troopers of the 82nd. wilson, you should know that specialist janice rodriguez joined the army not only two years ago, was assigned to the 101st airborne and just last month earned the title of the 101st airborne division air assault soldier of the year, and that's inspiring but not surprising when the women of today's military have taken on responsibilities, including combat like never before. i want each of you to know that their commitment to their fellow service members and veterans
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endures. sergeant first class's grandfather served under general mcclelland and macarthur. he saved the life of his best friend and today he and his wife use their experience to help other veterans and military families navigate theirs. brian's here at normandy to participate in sunday's jump. and here just yesterday, he re-enlisted in the army reserve. and this generation, this 9/11 generation of service members, they, too, felt something. they answered some call. they said, i will go. they, too, chose to serve a cause that's greater than self. many, even after they knew they'd be sent into harm's way. and for more than a decade, they have endured tour after tour. sergeant 1st class cory remzberg has served ten. and i've told cory's incredible story before, most recently when he sat with my wife, michelle, at the state of the union
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address. it was here at omaha beach on the 65th anniversary of d-day where i first met cory and his fellow army rangers, right after they made their own jump into normandy. the next time i saw him, he was in the hospital, unable to speak or walk after an ied nearly killed him in afghanistan. but over the past five years, cory has grown stronger, learning to speak again and stand again and walk again. and earlier this year, he jumped out of a plane again. and the first words cory said to me after his accident echoed those words first shouted all those years ago on this beach -- "rangers, lead the way." so, cory has come back today along with melvin and janice and brian and many of their fellow
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active-duty service members. we thank them for their service. they are a reminder that the tradition represented by these gentlemen continues. we are on this earth for only a moment in time. and fewer of us have parents and grandparents to tell us about what the veterans of d-day did here 70 years ago. as i was landing on marine one, i told my staff, i don't think there's a time where i miss my grandfather more, where i'd be more happy to have him here than this day. so, we have to tell their stories for them. we have to do our best to uphold in our own lives the values that they were prepared to die for.
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we have to honor those who carried forward that legacy, recognizing that people cannot live in freedom unless free people are prepared to die for it. and as today's wars come to an end, this generation of servicemen and women will step out of uniform, and they, too, will build families and lives of their own. they, too, will become leaders in their communities, in commerce and industry, and perhaps politics, the leaders we need for the beachheads of our time. and, god willing, they, too, will grow old in the land they helped to keep free. and some day, future generations, whether 70 or 700 years hence, will gather at places like this to honor them and to say that these were generations of men and women who proved once again that the united states of america is and will remain the greatest force for freedom the world has ever
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known. may god bless our veterans and all who serve with them, including those who rest here in eternal peace, and may god bless all who serve today for the peace and security of the world. may god bless the people of france and may god bless our united states of america. >> 70 years. an emotional, a personal speech from president obama marking the d-day invasion. he says, whenever the world makes you cynical, stop and think of these men. whenever you lose hope, stop and think of these men. we have to tell their stories. a really moving speech from president obama that i hope everyone gets a chance to see, because this was not about politics.
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this was about america, about our history together 70 years ago and today and what it all means. >> a personal speech from this president as well. i mean, what really got me was when he said, a day like today is when he really misses his grandfather, and so many of us feel that way. when you look at those old men, those elderly men who fought as young men for america, a lot of us feel that way, that you know, it is our grandfathers and our great uncles, that generation who let us live the life that we have today, and they made that big sacrifice. >> and he connected it to today, telling stories about current soldiers, servicemen and women in the military, and at one point, the camera focused on one of those young men, and i saw a smile on the face of what i think was a young soldier, and i think he was honored to be connected -- >> right. >> -- to the men who served 70 years ago. what an honor to be compared to them in so many ways. i think the president also made an interesting point.
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he said that that invasion, the d-day invasion 70 years ago today it was not going well at first. it was a very, very difficult morning there, but it was the courage of free men, he said, that helped turn the tide there. >> and the perspective of the long view. sometimes when you're in it, you can't take the long view. let's bring in noted historian kenneth davis, author of "don't know much about history," among many others. that's a good point the president makes, that in the early going, omaha beach was a failure. >> it was a failure, and we can think of all the failures throughout the different stages of world war ii. in fact, a few weeks before d-day, there was a practice run, and ships were hit by german submarines. 700 men died in a practice run. it was kept secret because they couldn't reveal that they were practicing for the invasion. and so, that's the kind of story, if it had happened today, if we had it on twitter, you know, that might have ruined the whole thing. we would have said, forget it, we can't do this, you know.
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so, it was a completely different time in history. i'm struck also by one thing. we keep talking about men, but these were boys. by this time in world war ii, the average enlistment age had fallen and also draft age had fallen into teenagers. typical age, average age in world war ii was in the mid-20s, but by this point in the war, teenagers were being drafted. and there were a lot of teenagers on those beaches that morning. so, they were -- we call them men, and they certainly were men. they proved themselves to be men, but they were boys. and we forget what sacrifice and service means sometimes in america, and i think this is an important day to reflect back on that. >> as the president said, they arrived as boys, they left as heroes. >> it's true. and it was also what eisenhower, the supreme commander, called a great crusade. and we sometimes forget that in our cynicism about history and the past. this was a crusade as the president was saying, to
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liberate europe, and that's a powerful idea that i think we should also reflect on. >> the president also got personal when he talked about his own grandmother, who helped the war effort at home. we talk about these boys who became men and then there were the women, the women who were part of the massive war effort to build the material. >> that's why i say we today are very much removed from war, very different situation. no family practically was untouched by war at that time, whether it was a son or a husband in service or the mom who was going off to work in factory, the rosie the riveters changed america forever. >> let's listen for a second here. they're playing "taps" there, the tribute to what happened 70 years ago. that just ended, i should say. but you can see, again, president barack obama, french leader francois hollandee, standing amongst the veterans, the men who have come back 70 years later.
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pageantry, really, of it, which pales in comparison to what happened 70 years ago. you're looking at three planes flying overhead. imagine what the skies must have looked like 70 years ago today, ken. >> the germans couldn't believe when they saw the ships coming. it just filled their view. i mean, it must have been an awesome sight. we see news reels now, but it was a surprise out of the fog on this early morning. thousands and thousands of ships and then hitting the beaches. an extraordinary moment in all of human history. >> and men came wave after wave. >> as the president said, wave after wave after wave of americans to liberate peoples they had never met. >> on beaches that became beaches of death. there's no other way to describe them. >> the beachhead of democracy, also, the president said, as a way of talking about the turning point in history that that day really became. that was the turning point in
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the war, that was the turning point when america really began in some ways to dictate the developments in the world over what has now been the next 70 years. >> but we also have to remember, it was another, almost another full year of fighting, including some very, very deadly battles, like the battle of the bulge, fought in the dead of winter. >> some of the men who survived the d-day invasion went, perished then later on. >> that's true. and so, it was a long -- it was the beginning of the end, rather than, you know, we can call it a turning point. and of course, while this is going on, we have, as the president mentioned, the marines in the pacific fighting those dreadful battles. this was truly a world war. it's hard for especially younger people to contemplate and understand how all-encompassing this was. >> which is why, as the president said, we have to tell their stories. >> these are war stories that we have to tell. >> ken, thank you so much for being with us. >> my pleasure. >> we really appreciate it.
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a remarkable morning, remarkable vision to see 70 years later. >> more live coverage of the 70th anniversary of d-day, there's the president talking with veterans, right after the break. ♪ at od, whatever business you're in, that's the business we're in with premium service like one of the best on-time delivery records and a low claims ratio, we do whatever it takes to make your business our business. od. helping the world keep promises. until you're sure you do. bartender: thanks, captain obvious. co: which is what makes using the hotels.com mobile app so useful.
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♪ you're looking at live pictures from normandy in france, just off omaha beach. that's president obama. he's just finished speaking on the shores there, paying tribute to the 150,000 soldiers who landed that day, liberating europe, democracy's beachhead, he called it. he is shaking hands with the soldiers, thanking them. he is clearly humbled, i think, by the chance to be with these men, overwhelmed by their sacrifice. he says whenever the world makes you cynical, stop and think of these men. >> and he said it makes him miss
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his grandfather, his own grandfather who served in patton's army, right, who is of that generation that -- >> and it made him feel that we have to tell their stories, and he is and we are this morning. we'll continue to cover this throughout the morning. meanwhile, there is some other news today in the political world here. hillary clinton got a new book out, soonish, four days before her memoir "hard choice" is set to hit the book shelves, excerpts have been released, or leaked, i should say, or somehow gotten a hold of, where she talks about p.o.w. bowe bergdahl. this comes long before the soldier was freed over the weekend, but it does suggest that clinton thought a backlash would follow if the administration made such a trade with the taliban. she writes "in every discussion against prisoners, we demanded the release of army sergeant bowe bergdahl, who had been
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captured in 2009. there would not be any agreement about prisoners without the sergeant coming home." "i had acknowledged as many times before that opening the door to negotiations with the taliban would be hard to swallow for many americans after so many years of war." >> paul steinhauser, our political editor, joins us live from washington, d.c., with more. we're sort of devouring what we're seeing of this book so far. what else jumps out at you? >> reporter: we're getting this from cbs news, who got their hands on a copy of the book that hits book shelves tuesday. here's what else stands out to me, another international issue where americans don't see eye to eye, where there are disagreements, is that bloody 3-year-old syrian civil war and what to do, whether we should arm the rebels. here's what she writes in the book -- "the president's inclination was to stay the present course and not to take the further significant step of arming rebels. nobody likes to lose a debate, including me, but this was the president's call and i respected his deliberations and decision. from the beginning of our partnership, he had promised me that i would always get a fair
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hearing and i always did. in this case, my decision didn't prevail." seems like she's putting a little bit of a daylight between herself and the president when it comes to syria, guys. >> paul, i hate to be cynical this morning because president obama just told me not to be during his speech in d-day, but this book, what we know of it, seems to be hillary clinton laying down markers on several key issues to make this daylight. you see it on syria, you see it remarkably on bowe bergdahl, and she may not have known that the release was imminent. it's also interesting, also on iraq, not daylight between her and the president, but making a new statement on iraq, laying the groundwork, perhaps, for the future. >> reporter: perhaps for the future, right, if she runs for president. remember that 2002 vote she had in favor of the iraq war resolution really hurt her big time when she ran for president in 2008. here's what she writes now -- "i thought i had acted in good faith and made the best decision i could with the information i had. i wasn't alone in getting it wrong, but i still got it wrong, plain and simple." some of her strongest language
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to date about her vote in 2002 on iraq, guys. >> and potentially a whole lot easier to campaign on if she were to run again than in 2008 when she did have trouble with that issue. paul steinhauser, great to have you here this morning. all right, more live coverage of the 70th anniversary of d-day. we're going to take you right back there right after the break. ♪
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it really has been a remarkable morning, remembering d-day 70 years ago today, so emotional. >> we have continuing coverage >> we have continuing coverage on "new day" starting right now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com you were young the day you took these cliffs, yet you risked everything here. >> we must carry on the work of those who did not return and those who did. >> that road to d-day was hard and long and traveled by weary and valiant men. >> this beach had been fought, lost, refought, and won.
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good morning. welcome to "new day." it is friday, june 6th, this morning, the world remembers the day the tide turned in world war ii. hundreds of veterans commemorating 70 years since d-day, the allied invasion on the beaches of normandy france. >> we're also following other big news of the day, including a deadly shooting on the campus of seattle college. but let's first turn back to president obama who earlier this morning reflected on d-day during a special ceremony at the american cemetery there. he honored the 4,500 allied troops who lost their lives in the invasion. >> we don't just commemorate victory as proud of that victory as we are.

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