I would like to fully do you justice… It is not for material gain that American mothers accepted to let their sons go. It is not for material gain those boys accepted to put their lives on the line.. The fifty thousand men in my convoy went to war to save not the American citizen, but man himself, human dignity, human freedom, human greatness. How can I forget the great cause for which the American people joined the fight ?
My faith in you was confirmed in Tunis, where I was among you in july 1943, taking part in missions on Lightning. One night,a twenty-year old American pilot invited my friends and me to dinner. He was troubled by a moral problem that seemed to him very serious. But he was shy and found it difficult to share his secret dilemma with us. In the end, he explained, blushing : “This morning I took part in my twenty fifth war mission. I battled with several Messerschmidtt 109. I’ll do the same tomorrow, and I may be shot down. You, you know why you are fighting: you need to save your country . But I have nothing to do with your European problems. Our own interests lie in the Pacific. So, if I accept the risk to be buried here, it is, in my mind, to give you back your country. Every man has the right to live free in his country. And I support every man. But after my fellow Americans and I have helped you free your home, will you help us in the Pacific ?”
We could have kissed this young friend ! At this time of danger, he needed to hear all of us confirm his faith in the solidarity of all men.
You see, American friends … your young men were dying in a war which, for the first time in history, was, in spite of all its horrors, and albeit dimly felt, an experience of love.