General Scaparotti address – La Fière paratrooper memorial – June 3rd 2018

Général Curtiss SCAPAROTTI is the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe – NATO

On June 9th 1944 at approximately 10.35 in the morning there was a brief,unexpected and profound silence. The guns of the 345th Field Artillery Battalion finished their barrage and went quiet. Enemy mortars and machineguns were momentarily hushed. Soldiers on both sides held their breath.
Brigadier General James Maurice GAVIN looked into the eyes of captain John Sauls and at the young men of his platoon, 31 paratroopers crouching along a low stone wall. This was the pivotal, decisive moment – lives and destinies hung in the balance.
GAVIN did not hesitate. His determination did not waver. His voice did not falter. Like the crack of a rifle ,he shouted the order  " GO " and Airborne soldiers marched into history.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we are here to mark a battle that future generations will long remember as one of the defining moments for the 82nd Airborne Division, for our Army and for the great and noble crusade to free Europe from oppression. We gather at this causeway, a solemn and sacred stretch of road some 450 meters long… to remind ourselves of what it was that compelled GAVIN to give the order… and throughout the battle, what, drove so many young Americans – de Glopper, Johnson, Lewis, Maloney, Ostberg, Rae, Kellam, Ridgeway, Timmes – and others to face the shadow of death so that others could live free.
What was it ? It was their faith in the mission,in the cause that had mobilized millions to leave their homes and families to protect the homes and families of Allied and partners. It was as General EISENHOWER had said ,the hopes and prayers of people everywhere that they would overthrow tyranny and provide security for a free world.
Perhaps above all, it was their trust and love for one another,their fellow paratroopers ,fellow soldiers and fellow countrymen. ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, IN ANYTHING That's the Airborne creed
To succeed in any mission… to fight where others may not go… to never fail… At the La Fiére causeway these paratroopers did not fail.
Today let us not fail them.
Let us honor the valor and sacrifice of those who surendered their lives.
Let us serve with common purpose alongside our fellow service members, Allies and partners 
With renewed resolve, let us continue the great and noble undertaking of Freedom

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