“On my last visit to Normandy in 2015 I was struck by the number of French men and women who came up to me and said: ‘We will never forget what your countrymen did here.’ Indeed it is important to remember and give thanks for the sacrifices made on the beaches of Normandy and elsewhere in Europe and in the Pacific Theater.
“As a Nation we are continually reminded of the commitment of those who have gone before us and we pause on this 6th day of June to give thanks for those who 75 years ago made the ultimate sacrifice on the beaches of Normandy to liberate Europe from the Nazis and to defend the cause of freedom for all humanity. As we pause to honor their memory, we thank them for their sacrifice. As Christians, we pray for the repose of their souls and pray for their families. Can we forget all who lost their lives because of their religion or ethnic group? We recognize that all people are created in the image of God and pledge to live that belief in the day-to-day activities of ordinary life.
“Jesus Christ reminds us there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. We give thanks to God Almighty for all the brave servicemen and women who have faithfully kept the Lord’s commandment to love their compatriots even to the point of death throughout the course of our nation’s history from the time of its birth. At this time, in particular, we express deep gratitude for those who laid down their lives on D-Day.
“We ask God that their sacrifice not be in vain. We beg Him to transform our power to turn war into a force for peace, to transform our weapons into plowshares, to give us the ability to negotiate, to talk, and to listen. We pray to remain vigilant against the forces of evil in our troubled world, and to pour our energies into building lasting peace and justice among nations.”