Friday, June 6, 2014


This is President Reagan's 1984 speech in Normandy commemorating D-Day; in the audience, surviving Army Rangers who scaled the cliffs. (It's said that the Ranger motto can be traced to one General Cota on D-Day.)  Note the Stephen Spender poem referenced by Reagan which is quite beautiful.

The Truly Great

By Stephen Spender 1909–1995 Stephen Spender

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light, where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the Spirit, clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.
What is precious, is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog, the flowering of the spirit.
Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields,
See how these names are fêted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s centre.
Born of the sun, they travelled a short while toward the sun
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.
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In contrast, there's President' Obama's speech of today.  Obama has difficulty evoking  those "who in their lives fought for life, Who wore at their hearts the fire’s centre."  Actually, by unfortunate and clumsy contrast, Obama's words make up "the traffic to smother With noise and fog, the flowering of the spirit."  

1 comment:

  1. Reagan - what a President - - - - what a man!