Nov. 11, 2011
Its an unlikely inscription, to be sure. British Professor David Starkey leads off an episode of the 2003 documentary, Monarchy, with a scene from Bayeux, in Northern France. Hes walking amid the headstones4,000 of themof British Commonwealth soldiers who died during the World War II invasion of Normandy. But the inscription he reads, carved above the classic columns of the war memorial, brings us backfar backinto the mists of time:
Nos a Gulielmo
(We, Conquered by William,
Have Liberated the Conquerors
Now, that is a sense of history! Nine hundred years after William the Conqueror invaded England from that same French coast, men from England, that Blessed Plot, returned to free France and Normandy from the Nazi yoke of oppression.
England has not survived without a deep sense of history. The whole world watched last spring when Williamwho may be one day King William Vwed Kate Middleton. They took their vows in Westminster Abbey, not far from the very spot where William the Conquerorthat cruel and despotic rulerhad had himself crowned in 1066.
America has never been conquered. We have had no cruel and despotic rulers, except, of course, those same British who tried to lord it over us in the 1760s and 70s. We broke all ties with the British and their monarchs in our own immortal Declaration of Independence.
Yet, for the sake of British liberties and our own, for the liberation of France and a suffering humanity, we Americans led the D-Day invasion in 1944. General Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded the combined American, British, Canadian, Indian, Australian, New Zealand and South African troops who hit those cold, windswept beaches in Normandy that June morning nearly seventy years ago.
I keep on my office wall a photo of a landing craft on D-Day opening its gate to let our GIs storm ashore. What a forbidding view. Many of those young men faced certain death from withering German machine gun fire. I keep that framed photo as a tribute to our brave American ancestors and also as a reminder: We dont want to have to do this again.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill was no regular churchgoer. He told one young vicar of the Church of England you may count me, not as a pillar of the church, but as a buttress; I support it from outside. Be that as it may, Churchill rallied the English to defend their island home and to stand against the Nozzie threat to Christian Civilization. Gen. Eisenhower unblushingly referred to his invasion as a Crusade in Europe.
Today, some of the elite leadership here is at pains to deny our Christian heritage. Some judges want to bulldoze all the crosses on public lands. These would include not just those by the side of Utah highways, but also those that mark the graves of our fallen soldiers in Normandy. Somehow, judges and other rulers, often unelected ones, feel emboldened and empowered to sandblast all evidences of Christianity from our public square.
Surely, not all the brave men who have defended our liberties for nearly two-and-a-half centuries have been Christians. In Normandy, there are white Stars of David every few yards, a tribute to the American Jews who honorably laid down their lives for our sake. Those Stars of David are in jeopardy, too. Wherever jihadists today menace Christians, they menace Jews, too. And the atheizers menace us all. These militant secularists think that an Empty Public Square can stand alone. They think that when all signs of Christianity and Judaism have been eradicated, that they will themselves be kept safe from harm. They will not.
President John F. Kennedy was a proud veteran of World War II. His heroic feats in the South Pacific were a major factor in his political success. In the speech he prepared to deliver on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, President Kennedy said we Americans are the watchmen on the walls of world freedom.
He was not embarrassed to speak publicly of our Jewish and Christian roots. Nor should we today allow the atheizers to silence us. President Kennedy ended his prepared remarks with a quote from the Psalmist: Unless the Lord keeps the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. For all Americans this Veterans Day, 2011, I pray that the Lord will keep our City.