Today is the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Is it even possible for us to comprehend the magnitude of what took place on the shores of Normandy that fateful June day? It wasn’t just that day either, but everyday that passed after, as the US and Allied forces struggled daily for months on end to liberate Europe and vanquish the evil that had occupied them for years.
Freedom was at stake and they understood that. They recognized that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was something they would have to fight for, to preserve, at any and all cost. I can’t imagine the hours leading up to the launch of the invasion. The nervousness of not knowing exactly what lay ahead. The only certainty any of them could have was that the battle and ferocity of combat would be unrelenting.
Surely there was a fear of dying and never seeing loved ones again or perhaps, if lucky, maybe survive with only minor injuries. But freedom hung in the balance. If freedom and liberty were lost, what would life look like in the future. They had seen a glimpse and heard the stories of an occupied France. The horrors of a race being systematically eliminated.
They may not have known all that lay ahead but they knew enough to know they had to fight for liberty, freedom and human life. Any nervousness or fear they may have had for their own safety was outweighed by the purpose of defending those things and preserving the life they had always known.
As I reflect this afternoon on the heroic men who stormed the beaches of Normandy, I am filled with tremendous gratitude and thanksgiving for them and their service for me and this great country. There was a time when life, liberty and freedom for all, hung in the balance. And bravely, with no regard for their own safety, these men willingly charged the beaches of Northern France!
Yes, there was a time when God, Family, Friends and Country were all held in high regard; That the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were worth pursuing and defending. That all human life mattered and part of our call was to protect those that needed to be defended – both here and abroad.
I don’t know that we truly understand today how fortunate we are to have and experience the freedoms and liberties we enjoy in this country. There was a time when all that we hold dear hung in the balance – I am so thankful that those men 75 years ago truly did understand All that was at stake.