I remember D-Day because my parents always remembered D-Day. D-Day was one of the greatest military undertakings in US history, and finally changed the course of World War II in Europe. For my parents, members of the “greatest generation,” D-Day was a day of remembrance for the men who selflessly gave their lives on the beaches, and thanksgiving that because of their sacrifice, we live in freedom and the greatest country in the world.
From watching the old news reels and the iconic photographs, it’s sometimes hard to imagine the fear, the horror, that these men faced when wading onto the beaches, or parachuting into the hedge rows and towns. But yet they climbed, they fought, they died, because they believed that the Nazi evil that had descended across Europe, and was a threat to our American way of life and beliefs, had to be utterly destroyed.
President Ronald Reagan, in his speech at Pointe du Hoc on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day said,
We in America have learned bitter lessons from two World Wars: It is better to be here ready to protect the peace, than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost. We’ve learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent.
Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their value [valor], and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.
Those words are as true today as they were 28 years ago. Will your children and grandchildren remember D-Day?
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it — George Santayana