Monday, September 22, 2014

Remembering D-Day sparks national pride

70th anniversary of Normandy invasion inspires Americans to “accept nothing less than full victory”

INVASION — American soldiers stormed the shorelines of Normandy Tuesday, June 6, 1944, ready to bring an end to Adolf Hitler’s reign of terror.  Google Images

INVASION — American soldiers stormed the shorelines of Normandy Tuesday, June 6, 1944, ready to bring an end to Adolf Hitler’s reign of terror. Google Images

Imagine staring death in the face. Imagine knowing that you are about to die in a foreign country, and the majority of people for whom you are dying do not even know your name. Now imagine having the courage to continue on in the face of this almost certain death.

The men who fought gallantly during the D-Day Invasion did not have to imagine these things. They lived them June 6, 1944. As 160,000 Allied troops approached the French coastline, there was no time for second-guessing and no time for turning back in fear. There was only moving forward.

It takes more than courage to do something like that. It takes the belief that what you are fighting for is of greater worth than your life. These soldiers clearly believed that protecting this country and the world carried more importance than their own lives. They were able to put aside comfort and familiarity for the future of millions of people.

“We’ve got to remember the folks who did it and those who still do it—the 1 percent who go into harm’s way for the benefit of the (other) 99 percent,” Dave De Soucy, a retired officer who served in combat during the Vietnam War, said in an article on the United States Army’s website.

This day in United States history is arguably one of the most important days in our past. This was the beginning of the end for Adolf Hitler. It was a huge step in ending World War II. But it was also the end of thousands of soldiers. Their last act on this earth was fighting for freedom for not only their families, but also for strangers.

How should this knowledge affect the way we as Americans live our lives? Should knowing that men who fought nearly 70 years ago to ensure that we can live in freedom influence us in any way?

If this knowledge affects anything, it should at least affect our pride in this country and in our soldiers. We should admire the fact that these men took enough pride in their country to give up their lives for its safety and for the safety of those living in it.

“It is important that (people) recognize that the freedoms they enjoy today are a result of the sacrifice of millions of people from all over the world that ensured their liberty,” Joseph W. Westphal, under secretary of the Army, said in another source on the United States Army’s website. “No greater act of bravery was ever carried out than that of millions of citizen soldiers, and civilians, who faced and defeated tyranny and rebuilt this country and the world.”

This day should be an inspiration to those of us who may never stare death in the face. It should inspire us to be strong and stand up to whatever our personal Normandy beaches are. And, just as Dwight D. Eisenhower said, we should “accept nothing less than full victory” when we storm these beaches.

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