Widgets Magazine
MIGHTY HISTORY
John Haltiwanger

5 legendary speeches delivered on D-Day over 75 years

(US Army photo)

June 6, 2019, marks 75 years since D-Day, when Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy during World War II.

On June 6, 1944, roughly 160,000 troops landed in Normandy, France, on five beaches with the code names Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.

D-Day involved astonishing coordination between Allied forces. Over 13,000 paratroopers were dropped behind enemy lines before daybreak. At approximately 6:30 am, the first wave of assault troops hit the beach.

It was one of the most important moments in the war and represented the largest amphibious invasion in world history. D-Day marked a turning point in the fight against Nazi Germany, which would surrender less than a year later in May 1945.


But it was by no means an easy victory, and cost many lives along the way: roughly 22,000 Allied troops were killed or wounded on June 6 alone.

On that day, and in the seven and half decades since, world leaders have delivered legendary speeches about D-Day — including on the blood-stained beaches where it occurred.

Here are five of the most powerful speeches on D-Day.

1. In a national radio broadcast on June 6, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Americans to join him in prayer for Allied forces: "They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate."

2. General Dwight Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces who would later become president of the US, delivered remarks to US soldiers on June 5, 1944, to encourage them before heading into battle: "You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you."

3. In the tense days of the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan on June 6, 1984, commemorated the 40th anniversary of D-Day with a powerful speech at the site of the invasion: "One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man."

4. President Barack Obama on June 6, 2014, commemorated the 70th anniversary of D-Day at Omaha Beach with a speech that captured why thousands of US soldiers fought that day: "What more powerful manifestation of America’s commitment to human freedom than the sight of wave after wave after wave of young men boarding those boats to liberate people they had never met?"

5. Queen Elizabeth II was 18 on D-Day. On June 5, 2019, one day before the 75th anniversary of the invasion, she reflected on the day and the "resilient" generation of men and women who lived through it: "When I attended the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the D-Day Landings, some thought it might be the last such event. But the wartime generation—my generation—is resilient."

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.