February 20, 2023
6 min read
Reagan honored WWII soldiers in Normandy Cemetery on 40th D-Day anniversary with a touching speech. Below is the historic “Reagan’s 40th Anniversary of D-Day Speech” Summary, Text, & Analysis.
We ran Reagan’s speech through Yoodli, the free AI powered speech coaching platform. You can get started at www.yoodli.ai and view results for Reagan here. Here’s a summary of his speech:
The Yoodli AI-powered speech coach provides this “We shall fight on the Beaches ” speech text:
"Mr. President, distinguished guests. We stand today at a place of battle. One that 40 years ago saw and felt the worst of war. Men bled and died here for a few feet of four inches of sand as bullets and shell fire cut through their ranks about them. General Omar Bradley later said, every man who set foot on Omaha Beach that day was a hero. No speech can adequately portray their suffering, their sacrifice, their heroism.
President Lincoln once reminded us that through their deeds, the dead of battle have spoken more eloquently for themselves than any of the living ever could. That we can only honor them by rededicating ourselves to the cause for which they gave a last full measure of devotion. Today, we do rededicate ourselves to that cause and at this place of honor, we are humbled with the realization of how much so many gave to the cause of freedom into their fellow man.
Some who survived the Battle of June6th, 1944 are here today. Others who hope to return never did someday. Liz, I’ll go back, said private first class Peter Robert Zanatta of the 37th Engineer combat battalion and first assault wave to hit Omaha Beach. I’ll go back and I’ll see it all again. I’ll see the beach, the barricades, and the graves. Those words of private Zena come to us from his daughter, Lisa Zena hen in a heart rendering story about the event her father spoke of so often.
In his words, the Normandy invasion would change his life forever. She said, she tells some of his stories of World War ii, but says of her father, the story to end all stories was D-Day. He made me feel the fear of being on that boat, waiting to land. I can smell the ocean and feel the seasickness. I can see the looks on his fellow soldiers faces, the fear, the anguish, the uncertainty of what lay ahead and when they landed.
I can feel the strength and courage of the men who took those first steps through the tide to what must have surely liked, looked like instant death, privates and ats. The daughter wrote to me. I don’t know how or why I can feel this emptiness, this fear, or this determination, but I do. Maybe it’s the bond I had with my father. All I know is that it brings tears to my eyes to think about my father as a 20 year old boy having to face that beach.
The anniversary of D-Day was always special for her family and like all the families of those who went to war. She describes how she came to realize her own father’s survival was a miracle. So many men died. I know that my father watched many of his friends be killed. I know that he must have died inside a little each time, but his explanation to me was, you did what you had to do and you kept on going.
When men like private zenata and all our allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy 40 years ago, they came not as conquerors, but as liberators. When these troops swept across the French countryside and into the forest of Belgium and Luxembourg, they came not to take, but to return what had been wrongly seized. When our forces marched into Germany, they came not to prey on a brave and defeated people, but to nurture the seeds of democracy among those who yearn to be free again and we salute them today.
But Mr. President, we also salute those who like yourself, were already engaging the enemy inside your beloved country. The French resistance, your struggle for France did so much to cripple the enemy and spur the advance of the armies of liberation. The French forces of the interior will forever personify courage and national spirit. They will be a timeless inspiration to all who are free and to all who would be free today and their memory, and for all who fought.
Here we celebrate the triumph of democracy. We reaffirm the unity of democratic peoples who fought a war and then joined with the vanquished and affirmed resolve to keep the peace from a terrible war. We learned that unity made us invincible. Now in peace. That same unity makes us secure. We sought to bring all freedom loving nations together in a community to get dedicated to the defense and preservation of our sacred values.
Our alliance forged in the crucible of war, tempered and shaped by the realities of the post-war world, has succeeded in Europe. The threat has been contained, the peace has been kept. Today, the living here assembled officials, veterans, citizens are a tribute to what was achieved here 40 years ago. This land is secure. We are free. These things are worth fighting and dying for. Liz Anata hen began her story by quoting her father, who promised that he would return to Normandy.
She ended with a promise to her father who died eight years ago of cancer. I’m going there, dad, and I’ll see the beaches and the barricades and the monuments. I’ll see the graves and I’ll put flowers there just like you wanted to do. Feel all the things you made me feel through your stories and your eyes. I’ll never forget what you went through dad, nor will I let anyone else forget. Dad.
I will always be proud through the words of his loving daughter who is here with us today. A D-Day veteran has shown us the meaning of this day far better than any President can. It is enough for us to say about private zenata and all the men of honored and courage who fought beside him four decades ago. We will always remember, we will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may be always free."
Reagan’s speaking style was confident, powerful, and emotive. We ran this speech through Yoodli’s AI-powered speech coach, and got back an analysis on various aspects of word choice and delivery. You can view the full results here.
Reagan used emotive and patriotic language in the speech. Yoodli’s analysis reflects this, showing very few filler words and very few weak words (just 1%).
In the Delivery category, Yoodli provides scores on Centering, Pacing, Pauses, and Eye Contact. The highlight metric to look at here is pace. Reagan spoke in very relaxed manner, at about 139 words per minute.
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