To the boys of Pointe du Hoc, a toast. To the men who took the cliffs.
To the men who slogged through mud and blood, who gathered up and buried the remains of worthy comrades, a toast.
To the flyer boys who piloted their ships towards danger, laughing it to scorn, a toast.
To the ones who went to tend the wounded under fire, a toast.
To the one who waited patiently for the day when he would come home running to the arms of his best girl, a toast. To the one whose sweetheart couldn’t wait, a toast.
To the 17-year-old who hit the beach with ashen face and trembling knees, yet crawled towards the sound of death, a toast.
To all fathers, sons and brothers who have fought and bled on a distant shore, in a war they may or may not have understood.
To the fathers, sons and brothers who still fight and bleed on a distant shore, in wars they may still not understand.
To all those who have left us as boys and come back as men, I raise my glass and softly call: “Goodnight. And joy be with you all.”