‘Democracy begins with each of us,’ Biden says at site of D-Day invasion in Normandy • Pennsylvania Capital-Star

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden, speaking from the site of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France, said Friday that those who support democracy must remember what World War II soldiers sacrificed and to live up to those ideals.

Biden’s remarks came during commemoration of the 80th anniversary of D-Day and sought to tie the threats to democracy in the 1940s to those that exist today in the United States and Europe.

“American democracy asks the hardest of things — to believe that we’re part of something bigger than ourselves,” Biden said. “So democracy begins with each of us.”

Biden spoke from the Ranger Monument at Pointe du Hoc, where former President Ronald Reagan in 1984 delivered a memorable speech on the invasion’s 40th anniversary.

The monument, constructed by the French, sits eight miles west of the Normandy American Cemetery and was built to honor the members of the American Second Ranger Battalion.

Biden walked in to give the speech alongside Scott Desjardins, the superintendent of the Normandy American Cemetery, who later told reporters that he spoke with the president about the battle.

“I explained to him that when the Rangers were still living, they would tell us climbing up the cliff was not the difficult part,” Desjardins told White House pool reporters. “Holding onto this terrain for two and a half days, being outnumbered, is really the amazing thing about Pointe du Hoc.”

First Sergeant Gavin Stith, U.S. Army, 2nd Ranger Battalion, and his spouse, Kourtney Stith, attended the speech alongside about 150 other people. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken both attended as well.

​ Pfc John M. Wardell, 99, from New Jersey, who landed in France on June 18, 1944, was seated in the audience as well and spoke with Blinken, according to pool reports.

Standing up to dictators

Biden said during the 12-minute speech the soldiers who stormed the beach in 1944 had decided that it was necessary to stand up to a dictator who threatened democracy in Europe and that people today must live up to that benchmark.

“Does anyone doubt that they would want America to stand up against (Russian leader Vladimir) Putin’s aggression here in Europe today?” Biden asked.

“They fought to vanquish a hateful ideology in the ‘30s and ‘40s,” Biden added. “Does anyone doubt they wouldn’t move heaven and earth to vanquish the hateful ideologies of today? These rangers put mission and country above themselves. Does anyone believe they would exact any less from every American today?”

Biden met earlier in the day with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and announced a $225 million aid package for the country to assist in its war against Russia’s invasion.

Biden told Zelenskyy during the meeting that his country’s efforts to win the war are “remarkable” and apologized for how long it took Congress to approve the latest round of military and humanitarian assistance.

“I apologize for the weeks of not knowing what’s going to pass in terms of funding because we had trouble getting the bill that we had to pass that had the money in it,” Biden said during the Zelenskyy meeting. “Some of our very conservative members were holding it up. But we got it done finally.”

‘Be part of something bigger than ourselves’

Biden said during his speech at Pointe du Hoc the Allied soldiers who scaled those cliffs on D-Day, all of whom are deceased, would ask every American today to “stay true to what America stands for.”

“They’re not asking us to give or risk our lives, but they are asking us to care for others in our country more than ourselves,” Biden said. “They’re not asking us to do their job. They’re asking us to do our job; to protect freedom in our time, to defend democracy, to stand up to aggression abroad and at home, to be part of something bigger than ourselves.”

If Americans wish to honor the sacrifices of our country’s WWII soldiers, they must “ensure that our democracy endures and the soul of our nation endures,” he said.

Biden did not mention the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, former President Donald Trump, by name, but Democrats have repeatedly stressed the danger they believe Trump poses to democracy.

Biden spoke Thursday at the Normandy American Cemetery near Omaha Beach about the bravery of the soldiers who stormed the beaches on D-Day and the allied forces who worked together to defeat Nazi Germany and end the Holocaust.



Originally published at penncapital-star.com,by Jennifer Shutt

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