D-Day memorial closure evokes memories of Reagan speech

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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You’ve, no doubt, heard about the honor flight veterans who breached the government shutdown barricades intended to prevent them from visiting the World War II Memorial erected to honor them.

Less widely known is this: “The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial — the site overlooking the D-Day invasion beaches — is one of 24 U.S. military cemeteries overseas that have been shuttered … More than 9,000 military dead are buried at the Omaha Beach cemetery, which is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. Nearly 125,000 U.S. servicemen and women are buried at its cemeteries, and 94,000 missing service members are honored on tablets.”

So some veterans who stormed the beaches are being deprived of what might be their last chance to return? I’m reminded of this excerpt from President Reagan’s terrific D-Day commemoration speech:

“Lisa Zanatta Henn began her story by quoting her father, who promised that he would return to Normandy. She ended with a promise to her father, who died 8 years ago of cancer: ‘I’m going there, Dad, and I’ll see the beaches and the barricades and the monuments. I’ll see the graves, and I’ll put flowers there just like you wanted to do. I’ll feel all the things you made me feel through your stories and your eyes. I’ll never forget what you went through, Dad, nor will I let anyone else forget. And, Dad, I’ll always be proud.'” (Emphasis mine.)

A tad ironic, isn’t it? Today, The Zanattas of the world might see the barricades, but they won’t see the monuments. Some of them have been planning this trip for months. But they won’t put flowers on the graves. Not with the barricades keeping them out.

Mr. Obama, tear down this wall!