D-Day Invasion Showed Value of Perseverance, Rumsfeld Says
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
DHAKA, Bangladesh, June 5, 2004 The bloody, daring landing that turned the tide of World War II in Europe serves as a lesson in the value of persevering in a worthwhile cause, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said here today on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy.
Rumsfeld arrived here today to meet with Bangladesh government leaders.
"It's an amazing thing when you think back to that period, and the way the Allies came together and accomplished something that was impressive, and then had the perseverance to continue it ... despite the loss of substantial numbers of lives, and then continue it in a way that enabled a fascist dictatorship to eventually become a democratic country," he said.
"That's a tough transition," he continued, "and it didn't happen quickly. It didn't happen easily. In the postwar period, there continued to be difficulty and rough patches and losses of lives, and it's a great accomplishment."
The secretary said many nations, including the United States, had to persevere as they worked their way to freedom and a representative government, also encountering difficulty, bumps in the road and loss of life over long periods. But those that persevered have flourished.
"If something is worth doing, it's worth persevering," he said. But unlike in World War II and past struggles for freedom, he noted, the around-the-clock news coverage in today's world focuses on the difficulties and sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan that historically have always been a part of the long, tough road to freedom.
"(The news reports focus) on every single thing that doesn't compare favorably with those countries that have already traversed that difficult path," Rumsfeld said, "and I think that's a standard that is a difficult one for people to accept. I think that it's possible people can be thrown off course because of discouragement and despair and concern that well, maybe it isn't possible.
"Well," he continued, "people felt it wasn't possible for those countries to get from where they were to where they are today, and yet there were people who said it is possible, and they were willing to persevere and they were steadfast. And they did decide that the goal was something that was sufficiently valuable that it was worth the commitment, it was worth the investment, it was worth the time, it was worth the criticisms along the way, and it was worth trying, failing, picking yourself up and getting back at it."
He said the situations in Afghanistan and Iraq aren't predictable, but that maybe in five years people will note that 50 million people in those countries are living in a freer society that they were able to determine for themselves.