June 7, 2019
Paris – Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a bipartisan Congressional Delegation visited the French National Assembly and participated in an exchange of commemorative resolutions with National Assembly President Richard Ferrand, honoring the heroism and sacrifice of the allied forces that fought on D-Day. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much Mr. President, merci.
I accept this on behalf of our very distinguished delegation that is here.
I’m honored to be here with our distinguished Republican Leader McCarthy and many Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, who are veterans as well.
So, thank you so much for this recognition. I want to, again in thanking you, thank you for the beautiful hospitality you have extended to us, listening to our [inaudible] showing off the chamber, we’re not quite as, shall we say, evolved, but we are proud of our institution, but when you visit us there and you come to the House of Representatives you will see only two paintings in the room. One is of our patriarch George Washington, the other is of the Marquis de Lafayette: only two paintings and those two show the close relationship of our two countries.
France was present at the birth of our country. It helped deliver our independence as a matter of fact, so I’m proud again to be part of this delegation, and we were proud to be there at Normandy, yesterday, to see the recognition of our veterans made by your President, President Macron when he gave them the Legion d’honneur.
So, so, so moving for us to see what I know you treasure as a great honor to our veterans.
We thank the people of France for their hospitality, and for the hospitality extended as President Roosevelt said, ‘To our sons, the pride of our nation,’ including our fallen heroes who rest in peace on the sacred grounds at American Cemeteries.
The veteran servicemembers we saw in Normandy, they remind us of our mission: to build a future worthy of their sacrifice, and peace worthy of the sacrifice they made.
Again, France was present at our birth, and we take great pride in that relationship. It was really, some of our colleagues, historians, will tell you that it was in the Battle of Yorktown that a fleet came in and made all the difference in the world and that was the turning point of the Revolutionary War. So, it was not only an inspiration of shared values from France, financial support and the rest, it was also military support as we fought that fight.
If you go to, we mentioned Lafayette, if you go to Mount Vernon, home of our patriarch, you will see a key – key to the Bastille that Lafayette gave to President Washington, a precious treasure in our country, again another connection between our two countries.
So, it is with great honor that I accept your resolution here and I also want to extend a resolution to you.
I will ask them to stand, Congressman Bill Keating of Massachusetts and Congressman Bob Latta of Ohio joined by the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel and joined by the Ranking Member Michael McCall presented to the Congress of the United States. Would you rise, my colleagues?
And what is in this resolution – and thank you, my colleagues – this resolution resolves that the House of Representatives ‘expresses gratitude and appreciation for the Members of the United States armed forces and Allied armed forces for participating in the D-Day operation and other military and non-military personnel at home and abroad’ – that includes many women, too – in France who helped with this effort – ‘who contributed to the success of Operation Overlord and turned the tide against the Nazis and the Axis Powers during World War II.’
The resolution goes on to say that it also ‘expresses gratitude and appreciation to the young people of the United States, France and the United Kingdom and Canada and all our allies for their efforts to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings, preserve the historical significance of D-Day and ensure that future generations know the acts of heroism carried out by Allied forces, who gave their lives in the name of freedom.’
We are especially grateful to France as I think this is the largest delegation of Members of Congress who have ever gone any place.
I just want to say that, as I mentioned about building a future worthy and a peace worthy of the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform – that means we have to strengthen NATO. We have to appreciate what we all bring to the table in friendship – be candid about how we go forward.
And, I just want to close by quoting President Kennedy – in his inaugural address, everyone in the world is familiar with what he said, ‘To citizens of America, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your county.’ But, not everyone is familiar with the very next line in his inaugural address. The very next line was, ‘To citizens of the world, ask not what America can do for you, but what we can do working together for the freedom of mankind.’
And so, working with friends, increasing our cooperation between our partners – our Congress and the Chamber of Deputies – in every way, we want to work together for the freedom of mankind. It is something we have shared since we were born with France – with their support, with our shared values and with our deep, deep friendship, as we go forward.
So, in that spirit, Mr. President, and I’m catching this car, in that spirit I want to extend to you this resolution.