Before and on VE Day this year, I visited the Normandy Beaches, the Normandy American Cemetery, the Overlord Museum at Omaha Beach, the Mulberry Harbor at Aeromanche, Caen, Bayeux, the Long batteries at Longue-sur -Mer, Pointe du Hoc….. and it shocked me again to realize what happened there at D-Day 1944.
I visited these beaches to pay my respects to the thousands of American, Canadian, French and Allied very young soldiers who fought, cried, suffered and died to liberate Europe from NAZI Germany, the suppression, the terror and immeasurable grieve inflicted to the people of occupied Europe.
After three days of walking around, I could have no more and decided to spend a day at Honfleur to absorb all the horrors I had been confronted with.
I felt devastated by the thousands of white crosses of soldiers killed in action on that very first day.
Why is it that today, the majority of Europe’s population is not willing and certainly not prepared to stand up for the beautiful Europe which has arisen from the ashes…………
The many amazing accomplishments realized since WW II….
The enormous growth in prosperity………
What happened to the idealism and statesmanship so leading after WW II and brought forward by men like Jeanne Monet, Robert Schuman, Harry Truman, Konrad Adenauer, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle and many more?
Have we grown into an aging, spoiled but magnificent Lady, bestowed with jewelry, seducing perfume, living in the past, complacent, arrogant, careless, and enjoying the fruits of the Good Life?
What happend to our pride, innovative and daring entrepreneurship, our Leading and Enlightening role in the World we played for more than 200 years?
Has the European Project gone up into smoke?
Europe today is in disarray, politically, economically, it has a lack of inspiring unified Leadership, its combined Military Forces are hardly capable to confront the threats facing us today……………
Its collective will to ensure a secure, stable and prosperous future for the whole of Europe has narrowed into selfish nationalism, protectionism, anti -Europeanism, some leading politicians are even advocating an EXIT.
FEAR is LEADING US.
When I was a small boy I watched John F Kennedy on Television at the Wall of Berlin speaking out loud: ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’, giving us hope, inspiring us to go forward and to stand for a free Europe.
Today, as a – hopefully – wise Man, I say: ‘Ich bin ein Europeer‘.
Coalition For Defense has started this private civilian initiative on June 7th, 2012, to bring back this idealism, entrepreneurship, confidence in the future, to make sure Europe will not again turn into ashes.
Europe needs to revive, stand-up, build, create our dreams again, and if necessary fight very hard, and therefore re-build our Defense forces, to maintain Europe as an enlightening example to the World for now and the future.
We owe that to all those soldiers buried on the Normandy Beaches.
The future of Europe is at stake, we need to scramble.
So my dear fellow Europeans, help us to make Europe vibrant, young and leading again.
Coalition for Defense
Dit is de welkomstspeech van Ton Welter bij de conferentie van Coalition for Defense in Brussel.