We can be sure that not all Arabs or Muslims harbor these sentiments. But that may not be what matters to the course of events. Politically aggressive minorities, like this Egyptian delegation exhorted by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be "anti-Zionist" and unite against a common enemy, can and do seize the reins of national power when those reins are up for grabs.
The people of 1944 did not know as we do what it would be like to celebrate—decade after decade—a seminal victory that reordered the world. But they would recognize, perhaps more clearly than we do, the pattern of events emerging around us in 2011. Their response, in the hour of necessity, was to storm the beach at Pointe du Hoc. And we may face in our generation a Pointe du Hoc of our own. I am not convinced that we will have to face it in the same form; i.e., as a contest of arms, with the rule of territory at stake. It might be simpler if we did.
But I think a brief passage in Reagan's 40th anniversary speech is the key to discerning where our Pointe du Hoc lies, and what we must do about it. Speaking of those who planned, fought, and prayed for the D-Day invasion, Reagan said they knew "God was an ally in this great cause." That is a concept we have all but repudiated today—and it may well be that in our lifetimes, we will not confront a great battle of bombs, armor, and blood in which we call God our ally.
But if evils and strife multiply in our world, there will be a place where we have to stand and face them down, whatever the weapons of our warfare may be. And in the place where we know God is our ally—in the place where we know He has called us to take our stand—there is where we will find our Pointe du Hoc.