HOLY SHIT. This guy doesn’t sound like any French leader in my lifetime, hell probably in my grandparents’ lifetime. Hard work, human dignity, strength, ambition, love of America? This guy sounds like Ronald Reagan! Here’s part:
"The state of our friendship and our alliance is strong.
Friendship, first and foremost, means being true to one’s friends. Since the United States first appeared on the world scene, the loyalty between the French and American people has never failed. And far from being weakened by the vicissitudes of History, it has never ceased growing stronger.
Friends may have differences; they may have disagreements; they may have disputes.
But in times of difficulty, in times of hardship, friends stand together, side by side; they support each other; and help one another.
In times of difficulty, in times of hardship, America and France have always stood side by side, supported one another, helped one another, fought for each other’s freedom.
The United States and France remain true to the memory of their common history, true to the blood spilled by their children in common battles. But they are not true merely to the memory of what they accomplished together in the past. They remain true, first and foremost, to the same ideal, the same principles, the same values that have always united them.
The deliberations of your Congress are conducted under the double gaze of Washington and Lafayette. Lafayette, whose 250th birthday we are celebrating this year and who was the first foreign dignitary, in 1824, to address a joint session of Congress. What was it that brought these two men–so far apart in age and background–together, if not their faith in common values, the heritage of the Enlightenment, the same love for freedom and justice?
Upon first meeting Washington, Lafayette told him: “I have come here to learn, not to teach.” It was this new spirit and youth of the Old World seeking out the wisdom of the New World that opened a new era for all of humanity.
From the very beginning, the American dream meant putting into practice the dreams of the Old World.
From the very beginning, the American dream meant proving to all mankind that freedom, justice, human rights and democracy were no utopia but were rather the most realistic policy there is and the most likely to improve the fate of each and every person.
America did not tell the millions of men and women who came from every country in the world and who–with their hands, their intelligence and their heart–built the greatest nation in the world: “Come, and everything will be given to you.” She said: “Come, and the only limits to what you’ll be able to achieve will be your own courage and your own talent.” America embodies this extraordinary ability to grant each and every person a second chance.
Here, both the humblest and most illustrious citizens alike know that nothing is owed to them and that everything has to be earned. That’s what constitutes the moral value of America. America did not teach men the idea of freedom; she taught them how to practice it. And she fought for this freedom whenever she felt it to be threatened somewhere in the world. It was by watching America grow that men and women understood that freedom was possible.
What made America great was her ability to transform her own dream into hope for all mankind.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The men and women of my generation heard their grandparents talk about how in 1917, America saved France at a time when it had reached the final limits of its strength, which it had exhausted in the most absurd and bloodiest of wars.
The men and women of my generation heard their parents talk about how in 1944, America returned to free Europe from the horrifying tyranny that threatened to enslave it.
Fathers took their sons to see the vast cemeteries where, under thousands of white crosses so far from home, thousands of young American soldiers lay who had fallen not to defend their own freedom but the freedom of all others, not to defend their own families, their own homeland, but to defend humanity as a whole.
Fathers took their sons to the beaches where the young men of America had so heroically landed. They read them the admirable letters of farewell that those 20-year-old soldiers had written to their families before the battle to tell them: “We don’t consider ourselves heroes. We want this war to be over. But however much dread we may feel, you can count on us.” Before they landed, Eisenhower told them: “The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.”
And as they listened to their fathers, watched movies, read history books and the letters of soldiers who died on the beaches of Normandy and Provence, as they visited the cemeteries where the star-spangled banner flies, the children of my generation understood that these young Americans, 20 years old, were true heroes to whom they owed the fact that they were free people and not slaves. France will never forget the sacrifice of your children.
To those 20-year-old heroes who gave us everything, to the families of those who never returned, to the children who mourned fathers they barely got a chance to know, I want to express France’s eternal gratitude.
On behalf of my generation, which did not experience war but knows how much it owes to their courage and their sacrifice; on behalf of our children, who must never forget; to all the veterans who are here today and, notably the seven I had the honor to decorate yesterday evening, one of whom, Senator Inouye, belongs to your Congress, I want to express the deep, sincere gratitude of the French people. I want to tell you that whenever an American soldier falls somewhere in the world, I think of what the American army did for France. I think of them and I am sad, as one is sad to lose a member of one’s family.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The men and women of my generation remember the Marshall Plan that allowed their fathers to rebuild a devastated Europe. They remember the Cold War, during which America again stood as the bulwark of the Free World against the threat of new tyranny.
I remember the Berlin crisis and Kennedy who unhesitatingly risked engaging the United States in the most destructive of wars so that Europe could preserve the freedom for which the American people had already sacrificed so much. No one has the right to forget. Forgetting, for a person of my generation, would be tantamount to self-denial.
But my generation did not love America only because she had defended freedom. We also loved her because for us, she embodied what was most audacious about the human adventure; for us, she embodied the spirit of conquest. We loved America because for us, America was a new frontier that was continuously pushed back–a constantly renewed challenge to the inventiveness of the human spirit.
My generation shared all the American dreams. Our imaginations were fueled by the winning of the West and Hollywood. By Elvis Presley, Duke Ellington, Hemingway. By John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth. And by Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins, fulfilling mankind’s oldest dream.
What was so extraordinary for us was that through her literature, her cinema and her music, America always seemed to emerge from adversity even greater and stronger; that instead of causing America to doubt herself, such ordeals only strengthened her belief in her values.
What makes America strong is the strength of this ideal that is shared by all Americans and by all those who love her because they love freedom.
America’s strength is not only a material strength, it is first and foremost a spiritual and moral strength. No one expressed this better than a black pastor who asked just one thing of America: that she be true to the ideal in whose name he–the grandson of a slave–felt so deeply American. His name was Martin Luther King. He made America a universal role model.
The world still remembers his words–words of love, dignity and justice. America heard those words and America changed. And the men and women who had doubted America because they no longer recognized her began loving her again.
Fundamentally, what are those who love America asking of her, if not to remain forever true to her founding values?"
Good speech, but I’m not sure that America exists anymore.