Remembering D-Day

Yesterday was the sixty-five year anniversary of D-Day, the day that US, British, and Canadian forces stormed the beaches at Normandy. Over 150,000 of them charged off the ships; over 10,000 were lost. Many of the dead were never recovered.

June 6, 1944 marked a turning point in WWII. Until that day, there wasn’t much ground opposition to Hitler’s forces. Europe had been largely unsuccessful in fighting the Germans on the ground. But D-Day changed that. Despite the heavy losses, the Allies took the beach. And that was the day that the West was finally able to take the first step towards freeing themselves from a murderous, genocidal tyrant bent on world domination.

The men who fought that day were beyond just soldiers and warriors. Even the word “hero” does not seem to mean enough. They charged that beach and gave everything they had to give. They fought for the future of the free world, and they won, albeit with a heavy price. I have to believe that most of them had to have known that the chances were great that they wouldn’t be going home after this, yet they possessed the courage and valor to charge the beach anyway. God bless those men and rest their souls.

I pray that the day comes that we do not have to undergo such a daring, risky battle again, both for personal reasons and for patriotic ones. We lost over 10,000 men on D-Day, men who were undoubtedly the best among us. Those men never returned home to see their wives again, to kiss their children goodnight, or tell their families they loved them. They made the ultimate sacrifice, and they made it for freedom.

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Despite the price, it was absolutely worth it. And we would do it again, if we were needed. Freedom is a cause worth fighting for, and freedom found a victory on D-Day at Omaha Beach sixty-five years ago.

Those young men are now older, and are passing away from this world on a more frequent basis. We shouldn’t forget the Greatest Generation, and we should remember the sacrifices they made. We should also give thanks that a new generation of marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen have stepped up to defend freedom and liberty where the Greatest Generation no longer can. Give thanks for the ones who have defended freedom in the past, and the ones who defend freedom today.

Let’s remember what President Bush said on the 60th anniversary:

“There were life belts and canteens and socks and K-rations and helmets and diaries and snapshots,” Bush said. “And there were Bibles, many Bibles, mixed with the wreckage of war. Our boys had carried in their pockets the book that brought into the world this message: Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends. America honors all the liberators who fought here in the noblest of causes.”

Turning then toward Chirac, Bush delivered the speech’s kicker. “And America would do it again, for our friends.”

The field of green was silent for a moment before the aging audience broke into heartfelt applause. Chirac, clearly moved by Bush’s words, approached the American president, grasped both his hands, and for a poignant moment, did not let go.

Cross-posted from Cassy’s blog. Stop by for more commentary or follow her on Twitter!

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