Skip to comments.A day in the life of President Bush (photos): 5/27/02
Posted on 05/27/2002 6:08:21 PM PDT by rintense
President Bush continued his European trip today with a Memorial Day ceremony at Normandy, France. The President then continued on to Italy, where he was greeted by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Bush will join the 19 NATO leaders together with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a summit at an Italian air force base Tuesday. Enjoy your daily dose of Dubya!
Text of President Bush's Speech at Normandy (keep the tissues handy):
Mr. President and Mrs. Chirac; Secretary Powell and Secretary Principi; members of the United States Congress; members of the American Armed Services; veterans; family members; fellow Americans; and friends: We have gathered on this quiet corner of France as the sun rises on Memorial Day in the United States of America. This is a day our country has set apart to remember what was gained in our wars, and all that was lost.
Our wars have won for us every hour we live in freedom. Our wars have taken from us the men and women we honor today, and every hour of the lifetimes they had hoped to live.
This day of remembrance was first observed to recall the terrible casualties of the war Americans fought against each other. In the nearly 14 decades since, our nation's battles have all been far from home. Here on the continent of Europe were some of the fiercest of those battles, the heaviest losses, and the greatest victories.
And in all those victories American soldiers came to liberate, not to conquer. The only land we claim as our own are the resting places of our men and women.
More than 9,000 are buried here, and many times that number have -- of fallen soldiers lay in our cemeteries across Europe and America. From a distance, surveying row after row of markers, we see the scale and heroism and sacrifice of the young. We think of units sustaining massive casualties, men cut down crossing a beach, or taking a hill, or securing a bridge. We think of many hundreds of sailors lost in their ships.
The war correspondent, Ernie Pyle, told of a British officer walking across the battlefield just after the violence had ended. Seeing the bodies of American boys scattered everywhere, the officer said, in sort of a hushed eulogy spoken only to himself, "Brave men, brave men."
All who come to a place like this feel the enormity of the loss. Yet, for so many, there is a marker that seems to sit alone -- they come looking for that one cross, that one Star of David, that one name. Behind every grave of a fallen soldier is a story of the grief that came to a wife, a mother, a child, a family, or a town.
A World War II orphan has described her family's life after her father was killed on a field in Germany. "My mother," she said, "had lost everything she was waiting for. She lost her dreams. There were an awful lot of perfect linen tablecloths in our house that never got used, so many things being saved for a future that was never to be."
Each person buried here understood his duty, but also dreamed of going back home to the people and the things he knew. Each had plans and hopes of his own, and parted with them forever when he died.
The day will come when no one is left who knew them, when no visitor to this cemetery can stand before a grave remembering a face and a voice. The day will never come when America forgets them. And our nation and the world will always remember what they did here, and what they gave here for the future of humanity.
As dawn broke during the invasion, a little boy in the village off of Gold Beach called out to his mother, "Look, the sea is black with boats." Spread out before them and over the horizon were more than 5,000 ships and landing craft. In the skies were some of the 12,000 planes sent on the first day of Operation Overlord. The Battle of Normandy would last many days, but June 6th, 1944, was the crucial day.
The late President, Francois Mitterrand, said that nothing in history compares to D-day. "The 6th of June," he observed, "sounded the hour when history tipped toward the camp of freedom." Before dawn, the first paratroopers already had been dropped inland. The story is told of a group of French women finding Americans and imploring them not to leave. The trooper said, "We're not leaving. If necessary, this is the place we die."
Units of Army Rangers on shore, in one of history's bravest displays, scaled cliffs directly in the gunfire, never relenting even as comrades died all around them. When they had reached the top, the Rangers radioed back the code for success: "Praise the Lord."
Only a man who is there, charging out of a landing craft, can know what it was like. For the entire liberating force, there was only the ground in front of them -- no shelter, no possibility of retreat. They were part of the largest amphibious landing in history, and perhaps the only great battle in which the wounded were carried forward. Survivors remember the sight of a Catholic chaplain, Father Joe Lacey, lifting dying men out of the water, and comforting and praying with them. Private Jimmy Hall was seen carrying the body of his brother, Johnny, saying, "He can't, he can't be dead. I promised Mother I'd look after him."
Such was the size of the Battle of Normandy. Thirty-eight pairs of brothers died in the liberation, including Bedford and Raymond Hoback of Virginia, both who fell on D-Day. Raymond's body was never found. All he left behind was his Bible, discovered in the sand. Their mother asked that Bedford be buried here, as well, in the place Raymond was lost, so her sons would always be together.
On Memorial Day, America honors her own. Yet we also remember all the valiant young men and women from many allied nations, including France, who shared in the struggle here, and in the suffering. We remember the men and women who served and died alongside Americans in so many terrible battles on this continent, and beyond.
Words can only go so far in capturing the grief and sense of loss for the families of those who died in all our wars. For some military families in America and in Europe, the grief is recent, with the losses we have suffered in Afghanistan. They can know, however, that the cause is just and, like other generations, these sacrifices have spared many others from tyranny and sorrow.
Long after putting away his uniform, an American GI expressed his own pride in the truth about all who served, living and dead. He said, "I feel like I played my part in turning this from a century of darkness into a century of light."
Here, where we stand today, the new world came back to liberate the old. A bond was formed of shared trial and shared victory. And a light that scattered darkness from these shores and across France would spread to all of Europe -- in time, turning enemies into friends, and the pursuits of war into the pursuits of peace. Our security is still bound up together in a transatlantic alliance, with soldiers in many uniforms defending the world from terrorists at this very hour.
The grave markers here all face west, across an ageless and indifferent ocean to the country these men and women served and loved. The thoughts of America on this Memorial Day turn to them and to all their fallen comrades in arms. We think of them with lasting gratitude; we miss them with lasting love; and we pray for them. And we trust in the words of the Almighty God, which are inscribed in the chapel nearby: "I give unto them eternal life, that they shall never perish."
GOD BLESS OUR BRAVE SOLDIERS, PAST AND PRESENT
QUOTE OF THE DAY: The grave markers here all face west, across an ageless and indifferent ocean to the country these men and women served and loved. The thoughts of America on this Memorial Day turn to them and to all their fallen comrades in arms. We think of them with lasting gratitude; we miss them with lasting love; and we pray for them. And we trust in the words of the Almighty God, which are inscribed in the chapel nearby: "I give unto them eternal life, that they shall never perish."
I checked out all the Doses while I was gone, and nearly fainted when I saw the picture of the President whispering sweet nothings into Laura's ear! Sigh........
There was entirely too much going on (and too much fun) while I was away!!
then click on the Streaming Link Glenn Beck's Memorial Day Essay
Rintense, thank you for posting the President's speech as I missed it this morning. What moving words, and also a gentle reminder to our European allies of what we gave for them. The sight of all those crosses facing West gives me the chills.
OhioWFan, welcome back! How was graduation?
Ohiowfan - Welcome back. We missed you!
I saw two TV news blabberers today sniffing and sneering that this is the first President ever to be out of the country on Memorial Day. I was appalled. Compared to the great good our President is doing, the news bimbos seemed so petty and ridiculous and out of touch.
America is great because America is (or has been good). We must lose that integrity at our moral core. Thank God we have a President who has returned to our highest office a sense of honor and dignity and moral purpose. May those in this country who seek to tear him to shreds be, themselves, torn asunder. May God be our ever fortress and ever sure defense. Thank Him and Praise His Holy name!
(and thank you to any who saw the previous day's Psalm I just posted and the prayer request there).
Psalm 7 (Part 1)
1 O Lord my God, I take refuge in you;
save and deliver me from all who pursue me,
2 or they will tear me like a lion
and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.
3 O Lord my God, if I have done this
and there is guilt on my hands-
4 if I have done evil to him who is at peace with me
or without cause have robbed my foe-
5 then let my enemy pursue and overtake me;
let him trample my life to the ground
and make me sleep in the dust.
6 Arise, O Lord , in your anger;
rise up against the rage of my enemies.
Awake, my God; decree justice.
7 Let the assembled peoples gather around you.
Rule over them from on high;
8 let the Lord judge the peoples.
Judge me, O Lord , according to my righteousness,
according to my integrity, O Most High.
and pay attention to the last 2 paragraphs
The weekend finished with a worship service for the graduates and parents, and with communion being served to the graduates. It was extremely moving and meaningful.
We got back at 2:00 in the morning (Minnesota's a long way from here) after hauling back both daughter and son's things (and them too, of course!). Now we have 2 weeks as a complete family before son #2 leaves for boot camp..........I'm going to savor every single moment.
Oh, yeah, and son #1, majoring in International Relations and Political Science told us on the way home that he is seriously considering applying for a job in the CIA when he graduates! Wild, huh?
Although security was tight in Sainte-Mère-L'Eglise, several hundred local people lined the streets for several hours in the rain, chanting "Chirac" and "George Bush" and waving US and French flags.
One elderly man complained that the anti-capitalist, anti-globalist and pacifist demonstrations against Mr Bush in Paris and Caen on Sunday and a new protest in Caen yesterday were "completely misplaced".
"There may be disputes with the Americans today. That is normal. But these protesters forget what these young Americans did for us in 1944," he said.
Thanks so much for the beautiful pictures, rintense.
Thanks so much for those lovely photos. And even if I can't see his face, I know that's my dear son-in-law Harry, holding the American Flag in the honor guard!!
They're so nice to see.
Hmmmmm.......doesn't look to me like all the Europeans hate the President!
Rintense....THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! I couldn't help but remember the slime today, and what a beautiful difference this REAL man is!!!!
That is so cool! Be proud!!
Once a year we recognize our fallen heroes and all who have served this country, both past and present. This year we also have the memory of 9/11 and all the innocent people who lost their lives along with the brave men and women who died trying to save others. Since 9/11 we have seen our nation come together in a way that would make our fallen heroes proud. My hope is that we will continue to stay focused and support our brave men and women in uniform and support our President as we deliver justice to those who attacked us and those who want to destroy us.
Our brave men and women in uniform deserve our support and our thanks each and every day, not just one day a year. A simple email of thanks and appreciation to our troops once a month will be a huge contribution in keeping their spirits up. I know that most, if not all, here on "The Dose" do this already, my only hope is that millions of other will do this also. We owe it to them for what they do for us. For me, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about our troops around the world and appreciate what they're doing for us. So from the bottom of my heart I thank the brave men and women who are defending our freedom in Afghanistan and other places around the world, and may God bless and watch over each and every one of them.