Happy Birthday, Mr. President

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Donald John Trump is not considered an eloquent man. Nor is he known for trying to forge bonds of friendship between Americans and people of other nations. If you said that the 45th U.S. president has put the “bully” back in the “bully pulpit,” you’d get little argument from me.

Yet eight days ago, while speaking on the picturesque French coast that was the scene of the D-Day invasion, it was this president — the one who wants to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, who insulted Canada’s prime minister, and who regularly disses NATO — who went ever further than his predecessors in lauding the U.S. allies who landed on the beaches with the Americans 75 years earlier.

“Then came dawn,” Trump said, setting the scene on June 6, 1944. “The enemy who had occupied these heights saw the largest naval armada in the history of the world. Just a few miles offshore were 7,000 vessels bearing 130,000 warriors. They were the citizens of free and independent nations, united by their duty to their compatriots and to millions yet unborn.

“There were the British, whose nobility and fortitude saw them through the worst of Dunkirk and the London Blitz — the full violence of Nazi fury was no match for the full grandeur of British pride,” Trump noted. “There were the Canadians, whose robust sense of honor and loyalty compelled them to take up arms alongside Britain from the very, very beginning.

“There were the fighting Poles, the tough Norwegians, and the intrepid Aussies,” he continued. “There were the gallant French commandos, soon to be met by thousands of their brave countrymen ready to write a new chapter in the long history of French valor.

“And, finally, there were the Americans. They came from the farms of a vast heartland, the streets of glowing cities, and the forges of mighty industrial towns.  Before the war, many had never ventured beyond their own community. Now they had come to offer their lives half a world from home.”

Yes, sir, they did. But it was singling out “British pride” and “French valor,” along with “fighting Poles,” “tough Norwegians,” “intrepid Aussies” that was a nice and unexpected touch. And that is your quote of the week. Happy birthday, Mr. President.

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