On June 6 1944, 70 years ago today the boys of the armies of freedom stormed ashore on the beaches of Normandy. The names given to the beaches were Juno, Utah Omaha Gold and Sword. Names that will fade to the history books but nevertheless that will always be holy ground because of the men who breathed their last upon them. Each grain of sand on these beaches is sacred. They are because those beaches absorbed the blood of the fallen heroes that stormed those far off shores.
Each drop of blood was gallantly spilled for the cause of freedom. Each tear that fell anointed that consecrated ground. These brave boys ran willingly into hell that others, whom they had never met, and would never meet, could be freed from an unparalleled evil tyranny. On that day thirteen thousand paratroopers took up wings like eagles and flew into an uncertain future. For so many it was a future filled with certain death. Many scribbled last minuet goodbyes to loved ones on scraps of paper and stuffed them into pockets or exchanged them with buddies to be delivered if they fell in battle. Knowing what lay before them they still stood up. Hooked up and shuffled to the door. Then came the count of fear before the parachute opened. One, two, three, four and with a great whoosh and a mighty tug the parachute opened to guide them in to the destiny before them. Each one understanding that they may be called upon to sacrifice their own lives. Each one willing to pay that price that others may be free of the evil that had stolen the land below them
Today as one walks thru the fields of crosses adorned with American flags they find that they all have a commonality. When you read the names engraved into the bleached white marble Crosses and Stars of David that mark the graves of each felled warrior you find they are the same names of the boys that walk amongst us today. They are same names of the little boys playing in the playgrounds and ball parks all over America.
You notice something else that impels you to bend your knees and bow your head to say a prayer and to shed a tear. When you mark the dates and calculate the years you realize that the vast majority of these nine thousand men, forever interned on these faraway shores, were just were boys? Yet in wave after wave, walking and crawling over the bloodied and broken bodies, they stormed ashore for freedoms cause. whilst the bombs exploded around them, the bullets whizzed by them, thumping in to the sand beside them and hit the pylons of metal they sought cover behind they managed to summon the courage and valor, that can only be found in facing the torments of hell and they charged forward.
Near the beaches of Normandy there is a town named Saint Mary. On the outskirts of that town there is a plot of land that is United States sovereign soil which was hallowed by the heroes who have been laid to rest there. It is a solemn and holy place where the fallen men of George S Patton’s third army are laid to rest. When one looks at the crosses that mark the fallen boys that followed Patton in his Charge to Berlin to confront the Nazi horror you will find that there are more than twenty sets of brothers that lay side by side. Each marker attests to a sorrowful truth in that these are the sons of broken hearted parents, orphaned children and widowed wives.
Today take a moment to remember that these young titans of America gave the world the freedom so many millions enjoy today. We are free because others gave us our freedom. We are free because others were brave enough to face the terrors of oppression and charged to defeat it with a willingness that is the highest point of valor and honor. We are free because others paid dearly for our freedom. In Washington DC engraved upon the Korean War memorial are these words, “Freedom isn’t Free” we are free because these boys in the glory of their youth purchased it with their blood, sweat and tears.
Today is not a day for politics. Today is bigger than our disagreements. Today freedoms bell rings once again across the world. Today the world in compelled to remember it is America that is, was and ever will be the greatest force for freedom that the earth has ever known. It is our Faith and belief, our loyalty and love and the deep knowledge that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for the cause of freedom and the use of force for conquest. So today say a prayer for our vets that stand watch over those freedoms on shores far distant from where we are. Today say a prayer for those who stand in the gap. When you pray do not bow your head instead look up that God may see your face as you thank him for the men who gave the last full measure and the men who are willing to do so today.
Writen by contributor Jerry Figueroa