Sixty years ago tomorrow, brave young heroes of the Allied force landed on the beaches of Normandy, risking their own lives for the sake of those living under the oppressive grasp of Hitler. In marking the historic anniversary of this D-Day of freedom, the leaders of the National Council of Churches USA, in conjunction with its counterpart ecumenical bodies in Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, released a statement of gratefulness and honor for those who served mankind on the fateful day.
The following is the full text of the statement, as released by the NCC USA:
"The celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the Allied landing in Normandy is for our Churches an occasion to express our gratitude for the heroism of those who freed us from the Nazi yoke, and for the path followed since those dark days of the Second World War. That peoples pulled into bitter combat with each other could have found the ways of reconciliation and peace, that their representatives could be united together here on the beaches where yesterday's battles were fought, deserves to be honoured by all those who in this world wish to be led by the God who calls all people to be peacemakers.
"It required two world wars for Europe to renew its allegiance to democracy and to outlaw war. It owed it to transatlantic solidarity, which throughout the Second World War and the Cold War enabled it to resist the totalitarianisms which threatened the continent.
"Sixty years after the end of a conflict that saw the peoples of Europe clashing with each other yet again, Europe is now gathered around its values which are liberty, solidarity, and peace. These values, which have allowed her to overcome the divisions of yesterday and to take the path of unity, must be shared today as widely as possible, on behalf of a world divided between rich and poor, and wounded by far too many active wars.
"We call upon those governments that are joining together June 6 on the beaches of Normandy to accept that they bear the same responsibility as sixty years ago: to give to the world the means of reconciliation and peace. These include support for those international institutions born of the victory of 1945 which encourage reconciliation, the adoption of economic policies that promote justice, and the casting of visions for peace."
Le Conseil des Eglises Chrétiennes en France (Co-Presidents)
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (Dr. David Goodbourn, General Secretary)
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Christlicher Kirchen (Dr. Walter Klaiber, President)
The Canadian Council of Churches (Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton, President)
The National Council of Churches USA (Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar, General Secretary)