Tomorrow is the seventy-sixth anniversary of D-Day. If you're not familiar with the term, it's the name commonly given to the massive Allied invasion of France during World War II—the beginning of the Allies' main push to liberate Europe from the Axis powers. Forty years later, then-President Ronald Reagan gave a speech (commonly referred to as the "Boys of Pointe du Hoc" speech) in Normandy to commemorate the event.
As I searched for the full text of the speech, I found this intriguing article that spends a lot of time on speechwriter Peggy Noonan and the process by which she wrote this speech. It's an important reminder of the responsibility we carry as authors, especially at moments like the one for which she was writing.
I had a surprisingly hard time finding a credible source for the full text of this speech, but I think I found something better: this recording of it (starts at about 3:32 and runs for about thirteen minutes). Somehow, just reading a speech is rarely as powerful as hearing it, especially with as gifted a speaker as Reagan was. I was surprised by how much it moved me—and how applicable the words are amid all the upheaval we're experiencing now, thirty-six years after it was given.
May we show the same courage in our writing as Reagan did in his speechgiving and as those "boys of Pointe du Hoc" did on D-Day.
(Thanks to Museums Victoria for sharing their work on Unsplash. While this isn't a shot from D-Day, the soldiers who fought in that battle would have been a lot like these young men.)