On this day in 1944, Allies took to the beaches of France in Normandy. Every time that I see a video or happen to actually speak to a veteran of the invasion I am in awe of the mental strength and dedication it took to do that mission. It has been 70 summers ago when these brave young men from various countries placed their lives on the line for the freedom of many. Thousands died and thousands were disfigured in the success of the mission and ultimately the defeat of Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich. There are 9,387 marble tombstones on the bluffs overlooking Omaha Beach. The final rest of men from Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, Alabama and on and on. There are a few markers where the person buried there is known only to God. I have often thought of the men buried there and never made it home; families that saw their loved ones leave and never saw them again. The sacrifice runs very deep.
. . . you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith, and belief; it was loyalty and love.
The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge — and pray God we have not lost it — that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.
You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you. –President Ronald Reagan, on Omaha Beach
The people of this generation have been deemed as the “greatest” of all generations, and I don’t think that title will be challenged anytime soon. In 1988 I took an oath to God to serve my country and protect it against enemies, both foreign and domestic; that oath has no expiration date. I become melancholy sometimes at the freedoms we have been given that are so enjoyed without really any sacrifice on our part. We relish in the comfort of what was and is provided to us by so few. It must be important to teach our children and remind them of the ultimate sacrifices it takes to keep the freedoms we enjoy. Our World War II veterans are few now. We cannot allow them to be forgotten in time. God bless America and the Allied nations who gave so much.