With the English Channel as a backdrop, President Joe Biden today addressed an international audience at Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, France, as part of a commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 1944.

On the morning of June 6, Biden said, 225 U.S. Army Rangers arrived by ship at Pointe du Hoc, jumped into the water and took to the beach, scaled the cliff, and against gunfire and grenades, eventually overcame German forces there. 

“They turned, in that one effort, the tide of the war and began to save the world,” Biden said. 

Today, Biden said, those veterans are gone. But their voices still speak to those who remain behind and who benefit from their sacrifice eight decades later. 

“I’m here to tell you, with them gone, the wind we hear coming off this ocean will not fade, but will grow louder,” he said. “As we gather here today, it’s not just to honor those who showed such remarkable bravery on that day, June 6, 1944. It’s to listen to the echoes of their voices, to hear them, because they are summoning us, and they are summoning us now. They ask us, what will we do?”

Veterans don’t ask Americans to do what they did, Biden said, but to do what’s right. 

“They’re not asking us to scale these cliffs, but they’re asking us to stay true to what America stands for,” he said. “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. 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.” 

The United States and its warfighters gave a lot in World War II, Biden said. And the United States today still has a lot to give, he said.

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