Jun 06 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (Kan.) – ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs – today spoke at a ceremony commemorating the 79th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in France. The annual ceremony honors the 9,386 American soldiers buried in Normandy and the 1,557 listed on the Wall of the Missing and pays tribute to the largest and most ambitious military operation in modern history.
“Gathered here together, we reaffirm the importance of continued friendship across the Atlantic Ocean, our shared bonds of republican governance, commitment to self-determination, and unified resolve in the face of aggression,” said Sen. Moran. “We remember the heroic sacrifices made here, at the beaches codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. We remember those who demonstrated bravery and devotion to duty. Whether these men grew up in our cities of the east, industrial towns in the Midwest, farms on the prairie, or on ranches out west, they answered the call to serve with one heart, one spirit, and every intention of returning home when the war was won.”
Sen. Moran joined General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Honorable Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Defense; Patrick Thomines, Mayor of Colleville sur Mer; Donnie Edwards, President of Best Defense Foundation; and Denise Bauer, Ambassador to France and the Principality of Monaco, as speakers at the event.
Click here to view Sen. Moran’s full remarks
Remarks as prepared:
“I am honored to represent the United States Senate and be here with Mayor Thomines, Mr. Edwards, General Milley, Secretary Austin, Ambassador Bauer, and American Battle Monuments Commission to mark the anniversary of the D-Day and to pay our respects and honor the memory of those who fought for freedom on these beaches.
“General Milley, thank you for your distinguished career of service and congratulations on receiving France’s highest military honor, the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor.
“To our World War II veterans here today, on behalf of the United States House of Representatives and my colleagues in the Senate, thank you for being here and thank you for your service. It’s rare that young men can do something that still merits expressions of gratitude nearly 80 years later.
“June 6th, 1944. As the sun rose above a European continent occupied and overrun, the free world stood ready to push back against the shadow of conquest and tyranny that had endured for four long years.
“The eyes of the world were upon the many thousands of young men who waded ashore amidst raining gunfire and artillery blasts to liberate a people they did not know, in a foreign land far from home.
“This Great Crusade marked the beginning of the end of Nazi domination in Europe, the return of freedom to French soil, and the tide turning in a war to save the world from tyranny and keep alight the flame of liberty.
“Gathered here together, we reaffirm the importance of continued friendship across the Atlantic Ocean, our shared bonds of republican governance, commitment to self-determination, and unified resolve in the face of aggression.
“We remember the heroic sacrifices made here, at the beaches codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. We remember those who demonstrated bravery and devotion to duty. We remember, with deepest gratitude, those who gave their last full measure of devotion.
“There are 9,386 young American soldiers buried here and 1,557 listed on the Wall of the Missing.
“Whether these men grew up in our cities of the east, industrial towns in the Midwest, farms on the prairie, or on ranches out west, they answered the call to serve with one heart, one spirit, and every intention of returning home when the war was won.
“This patch of earth here at Normandy holds a place in the hearts of families across the United States. Generations of Americans have grown up with only stories and photographs of an uncle, a father, a grandfather, or a brother who made the ultimate sacrifice. Each loss represented here by either a white marble cross or Star of David, is a loss that a family has borne for 79 years. They are still loved and remembered.
“D-Day remains the largest and most ambitious military operation in modern human history, and it was planned and executed under the leadership of a boy from Abilene, Kansas.
“In 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower issued a statement on the tenth anniversary of the landing of the Allied Expeditionary Force at Normandy. In it he reflected how the success of the operation was only possible due to the unity and cooperation of several nations.
“The partnerships between nations solidified here on this battlefield, continue today as we strive together to create a freer and safer world.
“Since the guns of war fell silent in 1945, the Atlantic alliance has marshalled our combined resources, efforts, and spirits of our citizenries to make certain that the world remains safe for freedom, democracy, and shared prosperity.
“As a leader of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee in the United States Senate, I regularly meet with veterans both in Washington, D.C. and across the country. During military service, our veterans were prepared to give everything for our country. Those of us working on their behalf must match that level of commitment. There is no group of Americans I hold in higher esteem than our veterans – among them my own father a World War II staff sergeant who served in North Africa and Italy.
“A week ago, Americans observed Memorial Day, where we remembered all those who gave their lives in the service of our military and our country. Today we reflect on what American, British, and Allied personnel dared to accomplish, and through their sacrifices, achieved on behalf of all of mankind.
“It is because of what happened here that my dad returned home… that thousands of other fathers and husbands were able to return home. Sadly, tyranny and the threat of tyranny remains.
“It is my hope that each of us, and people from every nation, can show the same resolve, the same stalwart defiance, any place tyranny seeks to gain a foothold. We must cherish the lessons and the example of those who stormed these beaches 79 years ago. But even more importantly, we must apply those lessons in our daily lives, whether that be in France or the United States.
“Courage, ingenuity, tenacity, and sacrifice. Let us all find a worthy purpose where we can not only apply these virtues, but also remember and honor those who so greatly exemplified them on this soil on this day 79 years ago.
“To the Greatest Generation, we respect you, we thank you, and we love you.”
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