bravery and sacrifice
Seventy three years ago on June 6th, 1944 several hundred thousand men dared to assault the beaches and countryside of Normandy, France. Not very many are still living from those days to remind the world of the valor, honor, and determination of people to defeat an enemy that threatened the entire world. And those born since the end of the Vietnam war are particularly ignorant of the history that determined the world they inherited.
My paternal grandfather came to the United States through Poland in the 1920s. Any Jewish family that remained behind in Europe were likely murdered by the Nazis; only a few extended family who emigrated before the invasion of Poland in 1939 are known to my elderly relations. My grandfather worked in the Brooklyn Shipyard during the war, and my father was an aerospace engineering student during Korea and worked on developing submarine missiles during the 1950s and 1960s. My maternal grandmother’s American cousin served in the Merchant Marine and was decorated for heroism during the Battle for Malta. My maternal cousin served in the Marines in the Iraq War. My son serves in the Army today.
if the meaning gets lost
The anniversary of D-Day, Operation Overlord, has meaning for that generation now averaging 90 years old as the beginning of the end for a bloodthirsty ideology that began, for Americans, with a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Without the resolve of these young men (and women who served in the factories and supporting industries to keep the military moving), very likely America and Europe would be a different place. The Nazis would have eliminated diversity. There would be no Jew, no black, no homosexual, no physically or mentally challenged people. Death by starvation, street-corner execution, or work-camps would have been the norm. College protests? Executions would prevent those. Black Lives Matter – there would be none due to Nazi genocide. The No boundaries/ no borders/no illegal-immigrant lobbyists? The Nazi control of borders and transportation would stop that. Question the government? Surveillance, arrest, imprisonment, and torture. And short of genocide, many of these same controls were in place in the Soviet bloc for decades.
history doesn’t have to be kind, only truthful
As with any culture in the historical past, there are any number of evils perpetrated on one group by another. No county is without failings, suppression of civil liberties and freedoms, and some reprehensible behavior in its past. But in light of all the current death and suffering perpetrated almost daily in the Middle East and now occurring nearly as frequently in Europe, many of my countrymen today ignore responsibility, integrity, work ethic and the blessings that becoming “an American” represented in the years after WWII. They only see a shameful past that must be rectified with ‘fairness” and “coexistence”. As a student of history, as one who served his country with honor, and as a disciple of Jesus, I do not take freedom and the blessings that living in America has afforded me lightly. Freedom of religion affords me practice of my faith; opponents still seek to diminish it in the American culture. They have done so in many parts of Europe. Perhaps these opponents do not see Islam as a religion? How many failings of men are attributed to christianity as a whole in the culture compared with the barbarism that seems widespread in the Islamic world, yet constantly referenced by state agents as the violence of a few extremists?
Do not use freedom to deny it to others
We should strive to hold each individual accountable for their deeds or misdeeds. We can have respect for people and cultures around the world. But the freedoms that were gained by those who sacrificed and served in the Armed Forces in our nation’s conflicts are now used by members of the latest generations to abuse others in the name of “freedom”.