Sixty years ago today in the early morning hours, General Dwight Eisenhower gave the order that commenced the liberation of Europe: “Okay, we’ll go.” With his death today, Ronald Reagan takes his place in the constellation of the twentieth century’s greatest champions of liberty — Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and perhaps Eisenhower himself.
We thrilled to his words and deeds — to his contribution to the renewal of the entrepreneurial energy of the American people, to his frank denunciation of Soviet tyranny, to his program of strategic defense and military strength, to his audacious vision of victory in the Cold War, to his call in Berlin to Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this Wall,” to his unflappable good humor.
In his D-Day tribute to “the boys of Pointe du Hoc” in 1984 Reagan said it all:
The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge