A man walks through the Canadian war cemetery in northern France. Presidents before Donald Trump, Walter Shapiro writes, understood that Canadians, Britons and Americans fought together to make the world safe from tyranny and genocide. (Graeme Robertson/Getty Images file photo)
When Ronald Reagan delivered one of the most stirring speeches of his presidency in Normandy on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, he hailed “the boys of Pointe du Hoc,” the Army Rangers, who, despite gruesome casualties, scaled the cliffs on Omaha Beach.
That June 6, 1984, speech, written by Peggy Noonan, also took pains to credit “the unsurpassed courage of the Canadians who ... once they hit Juno Beach, they never looked back.” Of the 14,000 Canadian troops who landed on D-Day, more than 1,000 died in the first six days of the invasion.