Today is the 65th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy during World War II:
Reporting from Normandy, France — Standing on the shores of the historic Omaha Beach landing, President Obama today paid tribute to the thousands of servicemen who gave their lives in the D-day invasion and cast it as inspiration for the “hardships and struggles of our time.”
In a speech to a sea of veterans and their families, Obama recalled the hell of German fire that rained down on the troops as they took the beaches of Normandy, which he called “the story of America.”
“It is a story that has never come easy, but one that always gives us hope,” he said. “For as we face down the hardships and struggles of our time, and arrive at that hour for which we were born, we cannot help but draw strength from those moments in history when the best among us were somehow able to swallow their fears and secure a beachhead on an unforgiving shore.”
The 65th anniversary of the invasion falls as the new American president works to build new global alliances to fight violent extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, contain the proliferation of nuclear weapons and support peace in the Middle East.
The ceremonies came at the end of Obama’s mission through the Middle East and Europe, in which he pressed world leaders for support in those initiatives. Joining the president for the Normandy event were leaders from France, Canada and Britain, allies in the mission of June 6, 1944.
Who were the Allies during World War II? I recognize that neither Russia nor China actually took part in the invasion on June 6, 1944 but they were important allies. Not including them in the commemoration or recognizing their contributions to the war effort is missing an opportunity to strengthen friendly ties with the two countries. It’s the same error we made 15 years ago in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the invasion. Including them wouldn’t cost us a thing.