Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day. June 6th, 1944. The Allied invasion at Normandy, France, was a key point in World War II, and certainly worth commemorating.
Below is an article I wrote a couple years ago, following our family’s own commemorating of the events of that day. It seemed a good way to honor the day this year, too.
Even if you read it when it originally posted, I do think it’s worth re-reading, and re-considering.
D-Day: When Things Mattered
June 7th, 2012
Last night we honored D-Day (June 6th) by watching an episode of Ken Burns’: The War (on Netflix). It follows the lives of four guys who lived through WWII, and specifically that day in Normandy.
It invoked so many thoughts and emotions… I certainly can not describe and share them all here.
The one prevailing thought I had, however, was that there is right and wrong.
These guys—just kids—were willing to give up their lives (literally!) in order to go over and make right what someone (or a large group of someones) made wrong… for somebody else!
That can not be emphasized enough.
The aggressors (Nazi Germany) were bent on eradicating the Jews (and just non-Aryans, right?) and were expanding their territory across sovereign nation after sovereign nation until the brave, heroic, persons of principle among the nations stood up and said, “You shall not pass!”
And they truly were brave. Heroes. Righteous. Courageous.
Not that they were flawless human beings. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Some of them were maybe even “bad” guys… but they stood up for what was right. That made them heroes.
They literally gave up their lives (I contend even the guys who didn’t die on D-Day were never the same again)… and it was for other people. Not the US. Not Americans (directly). It was not to expand our territory or influence or whatever… it was just taking a stand against evil.
Some today think that war is always wrong. They think that generations are not different. In a way that is correct: people are people. But there was something in my grandparents’ generation that was different. I’m not sure if it was a product of the circumstances of their day, or if it was that they had not yet removed God and respect and decency and morality from the general fabric of society. Maybe it was both. But whatever it was, we still owe to them (the world, not just America) an incomprehensible, inestimable debt of gratitude.
We mostly argue about ridiculous things today, things that really don’t matter. (We are free to do so in part because of the courageous choices and actions of these men.) Sometimes I think we argue for the sake of arguing. Political gaming. Blagh.
Things matter. People matter. Someday I think we (our nation, and as individuals) will be faced with a similar crisis. At that point, I wonder what that generation will do? Will their descendants someday label them the “greatest generation”? Or will that moniker forever be inexorably bound to the generation whose men bravely stormed the beaches at Normandy… until they had either given up their life, or succeeded in preserving freedom for the world?
I think we will someday find out, one way or another. Somehow we always get to decide if we’re going to stand, or stand by.
On D-Day… (and in many other battles) they chose to stand.