At his best, Ronald Reagan could redce an audience to tears with his speeches. I saw him do it on a number of occasions — when the space shuttle Challenger exploded in January 1985, when Reagan accepted his renomination as the Republican standard bearer in the summer of 1984.
Speechwriter Peggy Noonan was often responsible for putting the words in Reagan's mouth that accomplished that. Noonan, more than anyone else, was responsible for Reagan&'s moniker
I'll be the the first to acknowledge that Noonan is a gifted writer. But few of Reagan's speeches could match "The Boys of Pointe du Hoc" that was delivered on the 40th anniversary of the D–Day invasion 40 years ago today.
That really wasn't surprising. D–Day was the turning point of World War II, and the men who fought in it truly could be said to have saved the free world. Reagan paid tribute to them when many were still living.