tv 75th Anniversary of D- Day Ceremony CSPAN July 1, 2019 8:01pm-10:02pm EDT
this is a special edition of american history tv, a sample of the compelling history programs that air every weekend on american history tv, lectures and history, american artifacts, real america, the civil war, oral histories, the presidency, and special event coverage about our nations history. enjoy american history tv, now and every weekend, on c-span three. tonight, american history tv takes a look at d-day, starting with the 75th anniversary, which included president trump in normandy last month. after that, we will show you other u.s. presidents commemorating that day in history, from barack obama, in 2014, to jimmy carter, in 1978. the allies invaded occupied
ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing for the invocation offered by the u.s. army europe command chaplain, timothy malik. >> almighty god, lord of hosts, sacred to us is the memory of our fallen, and the sacred -- sacrifices of our veterans on these waters, shores, fields, and skies. and thus, we humbly ask for your holy presence here today in this ceremony. for many nations, their sacrifice poured out in blood, courage, and even death, to secure liberty for your enslaved children, and to smash tyranny, remains our moral touchstone.
for so great an act of love, we pray that you will grant them eternal peace, and their families lasting comfort. by their courage on d-day and afterwards, we also pray that you will challenge us, to love freedom more than comfort, privilege more than -- or even life itself. and without thought of cost or reward, we also will recommit ourselves to defend life, liberty and the pursuit of the common good, no matter the cost. that we are resolute in our request of god we know that we cannot achieve this without your divine blessing and guidance. and so, lead us as our shepherd even if it be again through the valley of the shadow of death, towards the green pastures of peaceful freedom. all this we ask, father of mercy, in thy holy name, amen.
battle monuments commission. >> welcome to our commemoration ceremony of the normandy landings. it is indeed an honor for me to be with you today, on these sacred grounds of the normandy american cemetery, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of d-day. and we extend a particularly warm welcome to the president of the french republic emmanuel macron, and his wife, bridget macron. and, to our president and commander in chief, donald j trump and first lady, melania trump.
to our many distinguished government and military leaders, and to the family of our honored dead who traveled to these now peaceful and hallowed grounds, to bear witness to the valor and sacrifice of our family heroes resting here. and to the more than 160 world war ii veterans seated here on this stage you need no reminders of the horrors of war. and who remember war there comrades who never came home.
the mission of the american battle monuments commission is to commemorate and honor the service and sacrifices of the united states armed forces. we do so by attending the graves and the memorials of our fallen servicemen and women, buried and memorialized at 26 american cemeteries around the world. we do so also, by preserving the stories, the stories of their deeds, and the endeavors of those that fought at their sides, courageous actions to replace the blessings of freedom to generations yet unborn. >> 75 years ago this very
morning, in yards from where each of you are sitting, a generation of young american men joined by french, british, canadian and other allies, nations brothers in arms did the unthinkable, and accomplished the impossible. these men came ashore and fought against tyranny in a massive undertaking unparalleled in human history. this was archibald mcleish, the world war i veteran who wrote these words in his poem, the undead soldiers. they say we were young, we have died, remember us, they say we leave you address, give them their meaning. so many gave us their death, it is for us our children, for generations to come, to give them their meaning. so our presence here today which is beautiful and inspirational cemetery does
just that. for the very character of a country, can be determined, by the way it takes care of its war dead and is a measure of its very heart and soul. to the more than 9000 americans , we give our promise and we will not forget. each year that we gather here and everywhere they fought and fell, are still grateful hearts are filled by the thoughts of what they did 75 years ago this morning. reverently placed in this hallowed ground. to them, and to the world war ii veterans with us here today, and in spirit around the world, your service and sacrifice, will have meaning so long as those who follow you hold hi torture freedom through history's darkest hours.
strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor, borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they live lived and died. today i welcome you as i prize -- as we pause for a brief moment to rededicate our efforts to the efforts of first chairman. john j pershing, that time will not dim the glory of their deeds. thank you. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the republic of france, emmanuel macron. >> translator: president of the united states of america, dear donald trump.
the veterans of the d-day landings, ladies and gentlemen, the might of the fifth and sixth of june 1944, this channel was not only troubled by the menacing rough crashing waves. for a few hours earlier, general eisenhower roared his famous let's go from 1200 warships, 5700 great chips, loaded with cannons and trucks, tanks and landing craft, following on the heels of 25 flotilla sailed towards the south of the isle of wight to the rendezvous point called by operation overlord military staff piccadilly circus. ahead of the tens of thousands of soldiers, who took to the
seas lay nothing but massive darkness. barely lit by the growing lamps from the ships and full moon. ahead of these soldiers above all, lay the dread of the unknown. a few hours earlier, they had learned the purpose of their mission, their destination, utah, omaha, juneau, ford, and gold beach, were shrouded in uncertainty. only those who a few months earlier had taken part in the sicily landings perhaps had an idea of what was to come, a bitter difficult battle, which would certainly claim the lives of many. tens of thousands of soldiers, drafted or volunteers, most
were barely 20 years old. and yet, there are days of youth seemed far behind them. far from the rolling hills of pennsylvania, kentucky, or new jersey. far from their school years where they had learned a trade but many had never had a chance to practice. far from the grueling training that had begun in the mountains of georgia and continued as operation bolero brought them across the atlantic to the south of england. far from the months spent amongst the british people waiting for an operation of which they knew nothing. far from the worried faces of their parents when they left home. far from the emotional goodbyes of their fiancis. to whom they wrote as they left the english shores by
candlelight, or the sickening flame of a cigarette lighter, one last heartbreaking letter. what was running through their minds, the minds of these young people frozen by the waters of the north sea. who knows? their thoughts are unfathomable. we cannot plumb the minds of human beings. but, what resonates still 75 years later is there incredible courage and generosity. the fortitude which carried them toward their destiny. that fortitude which had taken them thousands of miles from home, to provide assistance to men and women whom they did not know, to free a land they had
never set foot in, with no other comforts than a cause that they knew was greater than themselves. the cause of liberty and democracy. today, france has not forgotten. france has not forgotten the fighters to whom we owe the right to live in freedom. we have not forgotten the 135,000 american, british, and canadian soldiers, backed by belgium, luxembourg, dutch, norwegian, danish, polish, czechoslovak, new zealand, south african, and french troops, landed on 6 june, on the beaches of normandy, and forever changed the course of history in europe and the world. france is not forgotten the paratroopers who just a few
hours earlier had been dropped behind the lines and with the support of the french resistance fighters, would take hold of strategic bridges, roads and railway lines, and would take over from their brothers in arms, who made it out alive from the emerald shores, crimson and by the shed blood. france has not forgotten the 2 million soldiers who at the end of this longest day, would continue fighting on for weeks to free the towns and villages of normandy and would go through the of combat in the normandy countryside which was even more treacherous than the combat on the beaches. on behalf of my country, on behalf of france, i bow down before their bravery. i bow down before the immense sacrifice of the 30,000 killed, the 19,000 reported missing her died as heroes in normandy, between june and august, 1944.
>> translator: many of our veterans are here in this cemetery of equals, and i died for our freedoms. they are your brothers in arms, they are those who you at different times attempted to say. you volunteered to take part in the second omaha wave. on this sixth of june, you put yourself at great risk, to remove the wounded from the beach, under the hail of german fire. the brothers in arms, with whom you fought from the same omaha beach, right through to the region of belgium, on the way participating in the breakthrough which would free the brittany region.
your brothers in arms, those who you accompanied through the treacherous normandy countryside, you who fought nonstop from 7 june three to 8 july. the brothers in arms who accompanied you to the ardennes region, luxembourg, and even the countryside of czechoslovakia, those brothers in arms, when you were wounded twice in the sign region and on the ardennes. who gave you the strength to head back at the combat until you crossed the rhine river, where you took part in the liberation of the concentration camps, and saw the faces of the survivors and the faces of the executioners alike. and maybe then, in the raw truth of that moment, you understood for what you are fighting. your brothers in arms, of u2,
harold terrence, you worked as a radio operator, and deliberately decided to go to france, to lead military operations in normandy, france. and in the rhine region. there have been sometimes, dear paul wirth, dear charles darrow, dear stanley friday, dear harold terrence, in recognition of your unwavering efforts for france to regain its freedom, i award you the knights of the legion of honor. the legion of honor is the highest distinction awarded by the french republic.
it commands your extraordinary actions, your courage, your contribution to the freedom of our country. it is a way for the french nation to say, once again, and 75 years later, that we know what we owe to the united states of america. the united states of america, dear donald trump, dear president, which is never greater, than when it is fighting for the freedom of others. the united states of america, which is never greater than when it it shows its loyalty to the universal values of the founding fathers defended. one nearly 2 1/2 centuries ago, france came to support its independence. but, we owe you more.
>> translator: we owe you more. we owe you, all those who fought, the thousands of civilians who lost their lives and who have not forgotten. we owe more than medals and words. what we owe you is to show ourselves worthy of the heritage of peace that you have left us. our debt, worthy of the promise of normandy. worthy of the promise of normandy means never forgetting that free people when they join forces can surmount any adversity. the victory against barbarism would never have been possible without the fight -- divisive support of the united states, without the support of millions of men and women without the support of the american people and american industry. on the beaches, of the channel,
in the green normandy countryside, and the highest levels of the military. the armed forces were united. the allied armed forces were united. it is because the royal air force assisted the canadian infantry, because the french resistance fighters opened up the lines through normandy and elsewhere to the united states armed forces, a decisive moment for the battle. australians, people from new zealand, denmark, norwegian navy officers and dutch airmen arrived, and the interminable battle of the gap, the polish tanks made all the difference and it is because of that, that this gamble to free europe from the hold by way of the sea could be one. we shall never cease to perpetuate the alliance of free peoples. that is what they did. immediately after the germans
and japanese surrendered. when they created the united nations. that is what the united states did, when it created the nato. that is what, a few years later, the leaders of europe did, in bringing about the european union. >> translator: france wishes to continue to support this promise of normandy, understand its purpose for what we owe to our homeland, what we owe two countries that share the same values, what we owe to democracy and liberty. the lessons of samara are clear, liberty and democracy are inseparable. young americans died here. they
died for their country, and they died for the freedom of the world. they knew that. the french who died on the same beaches by their side fell for the liberation of their country. but they also fell so that their nation, it's tasks completed, would rediscover its tradition of liberty. we need to be true to their memory, and to do that, we must never sacrifice, we must never renounce what their sacrifice united. the promise of normandy will be supported by france with all its might, and, this is at the heart of america's destiny. president of the united states
of america, ladies and gentlemen. all along the roads of france, the beaches from rotterdam to share ball, from mexico stone. along these roads taken by the heroes we are honoring here today, as in the summer of 1944, all along have seen milestones, that are decorated with the start of the american flag and displayed with the statue of liberty, that statute at one of our greatest sculptors in the city of new york. these monuments serve as a reminder, an indelible reminder. inscribed in the countryside of france, a reminder of what this country owes the united states of america. their presence resonates with an invitation to us to continue
to renew this secular pacs that unites the united states of america and freedom. i am ready, mister president of the united states of america, dear donald trump, the people of france are ready, ready to renew this friendship, between our nations. contributing so much that the history -- thank you. long live the united states of america. long live liberty. long live the republic of france and long live the friendship between these two nations. >> will not present the legion of honor to five of our world
>> president micron, misses micron, and the people of france , to the first lady of the united states and members of the united states congress. two distinguished guests, veterans and my fellow americans. we are gathered here on freedoms alter. on these shores, on these bluffs, on this day 75 years ago , 10,000 men shed their blood, and thousands sacrifice their lives, for their brothers, for their countries, and for the survival of liberty. today we remember those who fell and we honor all who fought
right here in normandy. they won back this ground for civilization. to more than 170 veterans of the second world war, who join us today, you are among the very greatest americans who will ever live. your the pride of our nation. you are the glory of our republic. and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. [ applause ]here with you are
over 60 veterans who landed on d-day. our debt to you is everlasting. today we express our undying gratitude. when you were young, these men and listed their lives in a great crusade. one of the greatest of all times. their mission is the story of a epic battle and the ferocious, eternal struggle between good and evil. on 6 june, 1944, they joined a liberation force of awesome power and breathtaking scale. after months of planning, the allies had chosen this agent coastline to mount their campaign to vanquish the wicked tyranny of the nazi empire
from the face of the earth. the battle began in the skies above us. in those first tends midnight hours, 1000 aircraft roared overhead with 17 allied airborne troops preparing to leap into the darkness beyond these trees. then came dawn. the enemy who had occupied these heights saw the largest naval armada in the history of the world. just a few miles offshore were 7000 vessels bearing 130,000 warriors. they were the citizens of free and independent nations, united by their duty to their compatriots and to millions yet unborn. there were the british, whose
nobility and fortitude saw them through the worst of dunkirk and the london blitz . the full violence of nazi fury was no match for the full grandeur of british pride. thank you. [ applause ]there were the canadians, whose robust sense of honor and loyalty compelled them to take up arms alongside britain from the very, very beginning. there were the fighting polls, the tough norwegians, and the intrepid aussies. there were the gallant french commandos, soon to be met by thousands of their brave
countrymen ready to write a new chapter in the long history of french valor. [ applause ]and finally, there were the americans. they came from the farms of a vast heartland. the streets of glowing cities. and the forges of mighty industrial towns. before the war, many had never ventured beyond their own community. now they had come to offer their lives half a world from home. this beach, codenamed omaha, was defended by the nazis with monstrous firepower. thousands
and thousands of mines and spikes driven into the stand, so deeply. it was here that tens of thousands of the americans came. the gis who boarded the landing craft that morning knew that they carried on their shoulders not just the pack of a soldier. but the fate of the world. colonel george taylor, whose 16th infantry regiment would join in the first wave was asked , what would happen if the germans stopped right then and there, cold on the beach. just stopped them? what would happen? this great american replied, the 18th infantry is coming in right behind us. the 26th infantry will come also.
then there is the second imagery division already afloat. and the ninth division. and the second armored. and the third armored. and all the rest. maybe the 16th won't make it. but someone will. one of those men in taylor's 16th regiment was army medic ray lambert. he was only 23, but he had already earned three purple hearts and two silver stars fighting in north africa and sicily. where he and his brother bill, no longer with us, served side-by-side. in the early morning hours, the two brother stood together on the deck of the uss henrico before boarding two separate higgins landing craft. if i don't make it, bill said,
please, please take care of my family. ray asked his brother to do the same. of the 31 men on raise landing craft, only ray and six others made it to the beach. there were only a few of them left. they came to the sector right here below us. easy read, it was called. again and again he ran back into the water. he dragged out one man after another. he was shot through the arm. his leg was ripped open by shrapnel. his back was broken. he nearly drowned.
he had been on the beach for hours, bleeding and saving lives. when he finally lost consciousness. he woke up the next day on a caught beside another badly wounded soldier. he looked over and saw his brother bill. they made it. they made it. they made it. at 98 years old he is here with us today. with his fourth purple heart and his third silverstar from omaha. ray, the free world salutes you. [ applause ]thank you, ray .[
unrelenting fire from these bluffs kept the americans pinned down on the sand now read with our here is blood. then, just a few hundred yards from where i am standing, a breakthrough came. the battle turned. and with it, history. down on the beach, captain joe dawson, the son of a texas preacher, led company g through a minefield to a natural fold in the hillside. still here. just beyond this path to my right, captain dawson snuck beneath an enemy machine gun perch and tossed his grenades. soon american troops were charging up dawson . what a job you did. what bravery he showed.
lieutenant spalding and the men from company e moved on to crush the enemy strong point on the far side of this cemetery. and stop the slaughter on the beach below. countless more americans poured out across this ground all over the countryside. they joined a fellow american warriors from utah beach and allies from juneau, sward and gold. along with the airborne and the french patriots. private first class russell pickett, of the 29th division's famed 116th infantry regiment had been wounded in the first wave that landed on omaha beach. at a hospital in england, private pick it vowed to return
to battle. i am going to return, he said. i am going to return. six days after d-day, he rejoined his company. two thirds had been killed already. many had been wounded. within 15 minutes of the invasion. they lost 19 just from the small town of bedford, virginia alone. before long a grenade left private pick it and he was gravely wounded. so badly wounded. again, he chose to return. he did not care. he had to be here. he was then wanted a third time. and laid unconscious for 12 days. they thought it was gone. they thought he had no chance. russell pickett is the last known survivor of the legendary
of august, paris was liberated. [ applause ]some who landed here pushed all the way to the center of germany. some through open the gates of nazi concentration camps to liberate jewish people who had suffered the bottomless hours of the holocaust. and some warriors fell on other fields of battle, returning to rest on this soil for eternity.
before this place was consecrated to history, the land was owned by a french farmer, a member of the french resistance. these were great people. these were strong and tough people. esterified wife waited out d-day in a nearby house holding tight to their little baby girl. the next day a soldier appeared . i'm an american, he said. i am here to help. the frenchwoman was overcome with emotion and cried. days later, she laid flowers on fresh american graves. today her granddaughter, stephanie, serves as a guide at the cemetery. this week, stephanie led 92- year-old marion nguyen of
americans rest beneath the white crosses and stars of david a raid on these beautiful grounds. each one has been adopted by a french family that thinks of him as their own. they come from all over france to look after our boys. they kneel. they cry, they pray. they place flowers. and they never forget. today, america embraces the french people and thanks you for honoring our beloved dead. thank you. [ applause ]thank you.
to all of our friends and partners, our cherished alliance was forged in the heat of battle. tested in the trials of war. and proven in the blessings of peace. our bond is unbreakable. from across the earth, americans are drawn to this place as though it were a part of our very soul. we come not only because of what they did here, we come
because of who they were. they were younger men with their entire lives before them. they were has been to said goodbye to the young brides and took their duty as their fate. they were father's it would never meet their infant sons and daughters because they had a job to do. and with god as their witness, they were going to get it done. they came wave after wave, without question, without hesitation and without complaint. more powerful than the strength of american arms was the strength of american hearts. these men ran through the fires
of hel moved by a force no weapon could destroy. the fear is patriotism of a free, proud and sovereign people. [ applause ]they battled not for control and domination, but for liberty, democracy and self- rule. they pressed on for love in home and country. the main streets, the schoolyards, the churches and neighbors, the families and communities that gave us men such as these. they were sustained by the confidence that america can do anything because we are a noble nation. with a virtuous people,
praying to a righteous god. the exceptional might came from a truly exceptional spirit. the abundance of courage came from an abundance of faith. the great deeds of an army came from the great depths of their love. as they confronted their fate, the americans and the allies themselves into the palm of god's hand. the men behind me will tell you that they are just the lucky ones. as one of them recently put it, all the heroes are buried here. but we know what these men did. we knew how brave they were. they came here and saved
freedom. and then, they went home and showed us all what freedom is all about. the american sons and daughters who saw us to victory were no less extraordinary in peace. they built families. they built industries. they built a national culture that inspired the entire world. in the decades that followed, america defeated communism. secured civil rights. revolutionized science. launched a man to the moon. and then kept on pushing to new frontiers. and today, america a stronger than ever before.
[ applause ]seven decades ago, the warriors of d-day fought a sinister enemy who spoke of 1000 year empire. in defeating that evil, they left a legacy that will last not only for 1000 years, but for all time. for as long as the souls no of duty and honor, for as long as freedom keeps its hold on the human heart. to the men who sit behind me and to the boys who rest in the field before me, your example will never ever grow old.
[ applause ]your legend will never tire. your spirit, brave, unyielding and true, will never die. the blood that they spilled, the tears that they shed, the lives that they gave, the sacrifice that they made, did not just win a battle. it did not just win of war. those who fought here won a future for our nation. they won the survival of our civilization. and they showed us the way to love, cherish, and defend our way of life for many centuries
to come. today as we stand together up on this sacred earth, we pledge that our nations will forever be strong and united. we will forever be together. our people will forever be bold. our hearts will forever be loyal. and our children and their children will forever and always be free. may god bless our great veterans. may god bless our allies. may god bless the heroes of the day. and may god bless america. thank you. thank you very much.
american history tv products are available at the new c-span online store. go to c-span store supporti.orgk out all of the c-span products. tuesday night american history tv will have more on d-day's 75th anniversary starting with alex kershaw discussing his book "the first wave." we'll hear from mary-louise roberts who writes about d-day's aftermath in d-day through french eyes. watch american history tv each night this week at 8:00 eastern here on c-span3. in 1979, small network with an unusual name rolled out a big idea. let viewers make up their own minds. c-span opened the doors to washington policy making for all to sebring you unfiltered
comme content from congress and beyond. today that big idea is more relevant than ever. television and online, c-span is your unfiltered view of government so you can make up your own mind brought to you as a public service by your cable or satellite provider. this year marked the 75th anniversary of d-day when allied forces invaded nazi-occupied france. next from the c-span archives president barack obama speaks at normandy american cemetery on d-day's 70th anniversary. >> ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the entrance of the president of the french republic and the president of the united states of america barack obama.