Best of Both Blog
They gave their future to insure ours
At the American Cemetery near Omaha Beach lies over 10,000 men who gave their lives at D-day. This is certainly not all, in fact that is the number that died the first day. The total number of dead for the Normandy campaign totaled almost 50,000. There is an inscription by the central monument that reads:
These endured all and gave all that justice among nations might prevail and that mankind might enjoy freedom and inherit peace
There are so many graves, each one with a name, and then a wall with almost 1500 missing. Most of the missing are assumed to have been lost in the water during the landing, or perhaps bodies that were not identifiable. But it is not the graves that make the impression; it is the realization that each one includes a real person.
When you visit there is a 30 minute movie that features letters and voiceovers on several of those men, and then shows their grave. They were real people with real hopes, real futures and real fears. And when you see Omaha Beach or Pointe du Hoc and see the bunkers they had to take, and the cliffs they had to climb, it makes what they did even more unbelievable.
Overcoming fear. I am not sure you overcome it or whether you move forward In spite of it. I have never had to face anything like what those young men faced, yet sometimes I hesitate to do something out of fear. But now I ask myself, what is it that I have to cause me fear? The answer is nothing.
They each made a commitment, prepared as best they could, and then fulfilled the commitment they made. But it all started with a commitment, and I think that is what we need to remember. That commitment was made to something greater than themselves, and they clearly saw it as such. One of the French survivors made the statement that they were amazed that so many Americans would volunteer to fight thousands of miles away for people they did not know.