A friend posted this image to Facebook today, the 70th anniversary of the heroic Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy, France.
Eisenhower sent those troops into Normandy, knowing that casualties could be incredibly high. This article explains the reasons, and, if you must know, made me cry. Lots of deaths, many injuries, stupid decisions and wise ones, brought about "...the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world."
I have a quote from Thomas Jefferson hanging above my desk, words he wrote in a letter to John Adams. "Yes, we did produce a near perfect republic, but will they keep it or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom?" I think of the sacrifice and courage of those men on those beaches, many of whom were not yet 20 years old!
I also think of the words of Captain Miller; you know, Tom Hanks' character, in Saving Private Ryan, to Private Ryan, just before he (Miller) dies; "Earn this."
How are we, as descendants of those who fought on those beaches, keeping alive their commitment to freedom? Have we earned their sacrifice? Do I look around myself, see freedoms fought and died for being lost, and step up to keep them alive? Or do I sit in my living room and moan about their loss? This image, these thoughts, make me think of the words of another American;
...that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.