Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg

November 13, 1984

The President. Your Royal Highnesses, on behalf of the American people, Nancy and I welcome you to the United States.

America and Luxembourg are bound together by the golden cords of friendship and family. Beginning more than 100 years ago, thousands of Luxembourgers made the difficult journey across the Atlantic to the shores of the New World. And most traveled far inland, and they played a vital role in settling the plains and forests of Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

Today, in the hearty town of Rolling Stone, Minnesota, people still celebrate your national festivals and speak the language of your country.

It's literally true, Your Highness, that the people of America and Luxembourg are cousins; yet perhaps the strongest tie between us is the sturdy bond of common ideals and heritage, for Luxembourg and America share the glorious background of American—or of Western history, I should say—all the lessons that men learned during the centuries-long passage to civilization.

Both our nations cherish tolerance and rule of law. Both are guided by the will of the majority, while respecting the rights of the minority. Above all, both our peoples firmly believe that men and women can only achieve peace, prosperity, and self-fulfillment when they live in liberty. In the words of Pope John Paul II, "Freedom is given to man by God as a measure of His dignity."

In the past, the people of Luxembourg and America have stood together and fought together in the name of human liberty. Your Highness, you yourself fought side by side with American soldiers at Normandy just 40 years ago. The American Third Army, under General George Patton, played a central part in the liberation of Luxembourg. And in a graveyard outside Luxembourg City, General Patton and more than 5,000 American troops are laid to rest.

Today Luxembourg and America stand together still. Luxembourg offers stalwart support to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, of which we're both members. Your nation works tirelessly to keep the Western alliance strong by keeping it vigorous and, in particular, by promoting a firmly united Europe. Luxembourg hosts the European Investment Bank, the Secretariat of the European Parliament, and the Court of Justice.

Just as we have shared the great challenges of the past, so Luxembourg and America share the bright hopes of the future.

Your Highness, our peoples are industrious and innovative. And despite the difficulties that often go with changing economic circumstances, we in America are seeing a sustained economic expansion, while you in Luxembourg are experiencing the growth of new industries and services.

In freedom, our peoples are conquering material need and making breakthroughs that will help millions to lead longer, fuller, and happier lives.

Your Highnesses, Luxembourg is a proud and beautiful land, a country of lush forests and dramatic valleys, of rolling farmland and vigorous towns. It is our honor to welcome Luxembourg's beloved Grand Duke and Duchess to America. And it's our hope that while you're here, you will come to see some of our own nation's beauty and pride. May your time with us be joyful and rewarding.

The Grand Duke. Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, the Grand Duchess and I are deeply moved by your so kind invitation, the warm welcome, and the numerous courtesies extended to us and to our party since our arrival in the United States.

Mr. President, this ceremony has for me a particular significance. How, indeed, could I forget that more than 40 years ago, in February 1941, I had the pleasure to accompany my mother, Grand Duchess Charlotte, and my late father as personal guests of President and Mrs. Roosevelt at the White House.

In bitter times, when the independence of our small country was at stake, we found comfort and guidance from a great President whose determination and leadership ultimately led to the final victory and recovery of democracy and freedom.

It was indeed a long and painful way to go before the United States and Allied forces hit the beachheads of Normandy on June 6th, 40 years ago. The marble crosses, thousands in number, reminded us both, and the other heads of Allied countries assembled at the Normandy memorials in June, of their sacrifice. We pledge never to forget their example. And I assure you that this promise is shared by all my fellow Luxembourgers, linked by a particularly strong bond to the men who gave their utmost during the Battle of the Bulge. More than 5,000 rest forever in our soil, with one of the great American soldiers, General George S. Patton.

Restoring peace and democracy was certainly not an easy venture. It appeared, however, that preserving them would be even harder and more challenging and would certainly have been impossible without the commitment of the United States. The American engagement in Europe has provided the foundation for one of the longest periods of peace and prosperity our continent has ever enjoyed—to a large extent, our countries, to build the European Community.

And I recall in this respect, Mr. President, the declaration you made at Bonn in your speech on June 9th, 1982: "Europe's shores are our shores. Europe's borders are our borders. We will stand with [you] in defense of our heritage of liberty and dignity." We thank you for this statement and are pleased to assure that the fundamental values of the Atlantic alliance remain unchallenged on both sides of the Atlantic.

The links of my country with America are manifold. They go back to the times more than a century and a half ago when many of my countrymen immigrated to the north and northwestern regions. We are very proud of the fact that our blood keeps circulating in American veins and that your country has been, also, built up by the labor of my compatriots. Yet these ties have deepened since the last war. For some decades now, the ties of political life and of military defense have steadily strengthened. For about 20 years, economic realities of every kind provide us with an American presence in Luxembourg.

My countrymen and I are very proud of the links which thus unite the smallest country of the European Community to the great American nation. Such is the message I should like to transmit to you, Mr. President, with all my congratulations and best wishes for your new Presidency.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 10:12 a.m. on the South Lawn of the White House, where Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte were accorded a formal welcome with full military honors.

Following the ceremony, the President and the Grand Duke met in the Oval Office.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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