President Donald Trump paid tribute to the soldiers who fought on D-Day, as part of the 75th anniversary of the historic battle.
“These men ran through the fires of hell, moved by a force no weapon could destroy: the fierce patriotism of a free, proud and sovereign people,” he said.
The president paid tribute to the over 60 World War II Veterans who were present for the ceremony.
“You are among the greatest Americans who will ever live,” Trump said. “You are the pride of our nation, you are the glory of our republic, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Trump recalled stories of individual veterans from the historic fight including Ray Lambert — a medic with four purple hearts and three silver stars who was badly wounded in the D-Day landing operation.
“He was shot through the arm. His leg was ripped open by shrapnel. His back was broken. He nearly drowned,” Trump recalled. “He had been on the beach for hours, bleeding and saving lives, when he finally lost consciousness.”
Lambert, he recalled, woke up in the hospital the next day.
“Ray, the free world salutes you,” Trump said, prompting a standing ovation for the veteran.
Trump paused his speech and walked over to shake Lambert’s hand.
The president also cited the heroic efforts of Captain Joe Dawson who personally took out a machine gun and led his men forward in battle.
“What a job he did. What bravery he showed,” Trump said.
He welcomed Private Russell Picket, a soldier who was wounded in the first wave of the D-Day attack but returned to his company six days later, as well as a second time after he was wounded by a grenade.
“Private Picket, you honor us all with your presence,” Trump said.
The president acknowledged the patriotism and faith of the troops who fought in World War II.
“They were sustained by the confidence that America can do anything because we are a noble nation, with a virtuous people, praying to a righteous God,” he said. “The exceptional might came from a truly exceptional spirit. The abundance of courage came from an abundance of faith.”
Trump praised the heroic effort and struggle against the tyranny of the Nazis and thanked the French for continuing to honor the fallen.
“9,388 young Americans rest beneath the white crosses and stars of David arrayed on these beautiful grounds,” Trump said. “Each one has been adopted by a French family that thinks of him as their own, they come from all over France to look after our boys. They kneel, they cry, they pray, they place flowers, and they never forget.”
Trump also paid particular attention to the American generation that fought and won World War II.
“They came here and saved freedom and then they went home and showed us all what freedom is all about,” he said.