From Colleville-sur-Mer, France: I’ve had the opportunity, this morning, to walk once more on the beaches of Normandy, and to reflect again on the incredible courage that poured out on these sands on that “longest day,” more than 64 years ago. To look out on seas that churned, that far-off morning, with the largest armada in history. To gaze at the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc, where boys still in their teens scrambled into the face of withering fire, one handhold at a time – trying to gain a beachhead for freedom.
It’s impossible to look on these scenes and not be moved. Signs of the war are scarce now – just the remains of the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches, a few tanks and some bunkers. Only a few markers and statues and the countless rows of white crosses
and Stars of David in military cemeteries offer silent testimony to the human price of liberty.
But for me, it’s impossible to stand here and not see the comparisons between what happened here and what is happening, even now, in the courtrooms of America.
Eisenhower and his staff made their plans, those long years ago; they knew what had to be done, and what it would cost to do it. They had a “contingency for everything but failure.” But, of course, in the end, the success of their strategy didn’t just depend on the generals. It depended on the grace of God … the strength of an international alliance … the determination of courageous men …and the support of the American people.
The extraordinary men who founded the Alliance Defense Fund recognized the challenges posed to liberty in their generation, by opponents as entrenched and determined as the soldiers who waited behind the barricades above Omaha Beach. Our founders, too, knew what needed to be done, and outlined a clear strategy for accomplishing the goal.
They knew success would depend on the interventions of a merciful God … the strength of a unique legal alliance … the commitment of accomplished Christian lawyers and the courage of clients willing to stand and risk everything for the sake of freedom … and the dependable prayers and financial support of caring believers all over America.
Sometimes, I look at the legal challenges facing religious liberty in our country, and they seem nearly as insurmountable as those Pointe du Hoc cliffs must have looked to Rudder’s Rangers, that early June morning 64 years ago.
But those boys climbed those cliffs. They paid the price. They won the victory. They changed history. They preserved liberty.
Gazing out at those cliffs this morning, I realized that that’s the beauty of history. It repeats itself.
See you at the top.