French President Emmanuel Macron took time in his address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday to thank a World War II veteran, who fought on D-Day, for helping set France free from Nazi Germany’s tyranny.
“Since 1776, we, the American and French people, have had a rendezvous with freedom,” Macron said. “And with it comes sacrifices. That is why we are very honored by the presence today of Robert Jackson Ewald, a World War II veteran. Robert Jackson Ewald took part in the D-Day landing.”
“He fought for our freedom 74 years ago,” the French leader added.
Then looking straight at Ewald in the visitors gallery, Macron said, “Sir, on behalf of France, thank you. I bow to your courage and your devotion.”
All the members of Congress responded with a standing ovation for the World War II hero.
Macron: "We are very honored by the presence today of Robert Jackson a World War II veteran… Sir, on behalf of France, thank you" pic.twitter.com/H9IMwigTqf
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 25, 2018
The D-Day battle — launched on June 6, 1944 — took place on the shores of Normandy, France, and marked the pivotal moment in the Western European theater of war. It led directly to the liberation of the entire country of France in the ensuing months.
The Allied nations of the United States, Great Britain and Canada together amassed 5000 ships, 20,000 vehicles (including over 1000 tanks), 175,000 men, and over 10,000 aircraft for the largest amphibious operation ever undertaken in the history of the world.
— CanadianEncyclopedia (@CdnEncyclopedia) November 11, 2015
In his “Order of the Day” to the Allied forces, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower said, “The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.
“In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German War Machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves and a free world.”
The Allies suffered approximately 10,000 casualties on D-Day, with the Americans fighting on Omaha Beach experiencing some of the fiercest fighting. Ewald was an Army surgeon on Omaha Beach.
— Brie Jackson (@PositivelyBrie) April 25, 2018
A little over two-and-half months after launching the Normandy invasion, the Allies liberated Paris on August 25.
On Tuesday, Macron awarded the Legion of Honor to Ewald, as well as to U.S. Navy veteran Stanley Rzucidlo and Air Force veteran William Barr, CNN reported.
Rzucidlo also participated in D-Day, and Barr served on a bomber plane in operations over Brest, France.
Robert, Stanley, William, those are the names of heroes.
During World War II, your generation decided to take all the risks to protect France.
You fought for freedom.
Eternal gratitude from the French people. pic.twitter.com/XjHcwC50nK
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 25, 2018
Macron told the veterans that the French people are grateful for all they and their brothers-in-arms did.
“My generation has the opportunity to defend these values today because your generation, and especially people like you, decided to take all the risks to protect these values, to protect my country,” Macron said, adding that he was “also paying tribute to the blood shed by all your comrades.”
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