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Remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Commemorating 80 Years Since D-Day (As Delivered)

President Biden, Dr. Biden, President Macron, Mrs. Macron, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, and above all, the veterans of World War II: I am honored to stand again at this hallowed place. 

We bow our heads to remember the more than 9,000 U.S. and Allied soldiers killed or wounded on D-Day by Hitler's forces.
On behalf of the United States Department of Defense, I am here to give thanks—inadequate as that word may be. 
Eighty years later, we thank the young Americans who took the beaches, who helped liberate France, and who helped free this continent from Nazi tyranny. We thank every Allied warrior who fought for freedom on June 6, 1944. And we thank the American and Allied veterans who have rallied once more on the shores of Normandy.
Victors of D-Day: we are humbled by your presence.
The young Americans who fought through the clamor and the chaos on D-Day have grown old, or left us. And whenever a veteran of D-Day is gathered to his Maker in the fullness of time, after a long life lived in freedom, he wins a final victory over Hitler. 
You helped defeat what Churchill called "a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime." And you laid the foundation for a more just, free, and decent world. 

Together with our Allies, we built peace out of war—a hard-headed peace, a peace renewed by constant commitment, a peace forged by the generation that won the bloodiest war in human history. 
And so our gratitude must never fade. Our memories must never dim. And our resolve must never fail. 
We still seek a world where aggression is a sin, and where human rights are sacred, and where all people can live in freedom. 
And so we must rally again to defend the open, postwar world of rules, rights, and responsibilities. 

Those rules protect us. Those rights define us. And those responsibilities summon us once more. 
At this hinge in history, we must again stand firm against aggression and tyranny. 

And as I said here last year: If the troops of the world's democracies could risk their lives for freedom then, surely the citizens of the world's democracies can risk our comfort for freedom now. 
So let us again uphold the spirit of D-Day. Let us again defend the principles that the Allied armies carried. And let us again thank the heroes of D-Day who kept freedom alive for us all. 
You saved the world.
You saved the world. And we must only defend it. 

Gentlemen: we salute you.
[Secretary Austin turns and salutes the World War II veterans; audience applauds]
May God bless the American and Allied troops who fought here. May God bless the United States of America. And may God bless all who cherish human freedom.
Thank you.