Around the 20 min mark of that interview, he talks of a profound experience with his dad at a war memorial in Europe, viewing the bones of 600 THOUSAND men killed in 9 months.
That’s when it struck him hard,” THIS IS REAL.”
He was a teenager then, and has spent the last 53 years, FIFTY-THREE YEARS, preparing for this run, this nomination, this opportunity (if given) to serve as President.
He’s profoundly humbled, and he’s prepared like no other.
Transcript of the interview with P.Morgan
“MORGAN: I want to take you back to when you were 14 years old and your stepfather, Bob, took you to the old battlefields in France.
GINGRICH: Well, it’s called the Ossuary, and it’s a glassed-in, basement-like area that had the bones of 100,000 people who’d been blown apart in the fields and left to rot. The battle lasted for nine months. And so literally back in that era, you know, they went out after the war and they gathered up all these bones, German and French bones, put them all in this one extraordinary memorial.
We were staying with a friend of my father’s who had been drafted in 1941 and sent to the Philippines, served on the Bataan Death March, and spent three and a half years in a Japanese prison camp. And so the combination of seeing the battlefield of this — 600,000 men died in a nine-month period of this battle.
And listening to him talk about the stories of defeat. And then, a few weeks later, the French paratroopers killed the French Fourth Republic and brought back General de Gaulle to create the Fifth Republic.
I think that combination of things for a young kid from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, just sort of drove home that this stuff is all real. That, you know, this is not just a game. This is —
MORGAN: How would it shape you as a president in the sense that you’re going to face, if you become president, moments where you have to decide, do you take your country to war? It’s going to happen to you. What does that tell you about warfare? I know you’re a military historian in many ways.
GINGRICH: Well, it’s deeper than just going to war. It’s the question of, how can you make the historically right decisions to give your children and grandchildren a prosperous, safe, free country? I mean maybe avoiding going to war because you use the right build-up or the right diplomacy, because you have foresight.
It’s also, how do you operate in a principled manner? Because you can’t just ad hoc all these different decisions. You have to have some underlying set of principles that enable you to say, you know, for America to remain a great nation, for America to remain an exceptional nation, these are things we have to focus on.
And you have to set priorities. And where possible, you have to get ahead of the problems. I mean, one of the amazing things about both Eisenhower and Reagan was that they were able to sort of see around the corner. And so they could take steps that achieved a great deal at minimum risk. And both of them tended to avoid risk.”