While they're still among us

Honor the veterans of D-Day. There are fewer every year.

Those who were there today witnessed the solemn and deeply moving ceremony at Normandy.
And they heard clear and unambiguous remarks about war from a president
who isn’t inclined to use them outside the context of history.

U.S. President Barack Obama paid homage to the heroes of
D-Day on Saturday, saying their assault on Normandy’s beaches exactly
65 years ago had helped save the world from evil and tyranny.

Addressing stooped, white-haired veterans, Obama said the Second
World War represented a special moment in history when nations fought
together to battle a murderous ideology.

“We live in a world of competing beliefs and claims about what is
true,” Obama said. “In such a world, it is rare for a struggle to
emerge that speaks to something universal about humanity. The Second
World War did that.”

He called the battle pivotal and its lessons eternal.

“Friends and veterans, what we cannot forget — what we
must not forget — is that D-Day was a time and a place where the
bravery and selflessness of a few was able to change the course of an
entire century,” he said…

“When the ships landed here at Omaha, an unimaginable hell rained
down on the men inside,” he said. “Many never made it out of the

“At an hour of maximum danger, amid the bleakest of circumstances,
men who thought themselves ordinary found it within themselves to do
the extraordinary,” Obama said. “They fought out of a simple sense of
duty — a duty sustained by the same ideals for which their countrymen
had fought and bled for over two centuries.”

The personal stories are still profoundly stirring.

Obama saluted the contributions of individual veterans
of the Normandy landings, including one veteran, Jim Norene, who fought
as a member of the 101st Airborne Division.

“Last night, after visiting this cemetery for one last time, he
passed away in his sleep,” the president said. “Jim was gravely ill
when he left his home, and he knew that he might not return.

But just as he did 65 years ago, he came anyway. May he now rest in
peace with the boys he once bled with, and may his family always find
solace in the heroism he showed here.”

Normandy Veteran Eric Buckley, 85, from Leicester places a wooden remembrance plaque on what was the British Sword beach at Colleville Montgomery.


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