Today is the 72nd anniversary of the massive D-Day invasion on the shores of Normandy. The day that changed the course of history.
Last night I watched Band of Brothers and it struck me, again, how lucky we are to experience so many simple, mundane and amazing things — from the right to complain on Facebook about politicians, the freedom to go (or not) go to the church/synagogue/mosque of our choice, being with our families, or even enjoy simple things like getting to watch the sunrise over the Wasatch, the Great Smoky Mountains or the Golden Gate Bridge.
These 20-something young men, thousands of miles from home, boarded planes and ships knowing that they were facing near-certain death. Still, they came by the thousands, fought like hell and gave their lives to save people on a different continent, whose language they didn’t speak.
The ones who made it back left their buddies buried on a bluff overlooking the beaches where they died. They came home and raised families, built businesses and never talked about the horrors they witnessed in Germany, France, and Poland.
They saw the worst humanity has to offer and they still persevered, reclaiming freedom from the oppression of the Third Reich, one step, one bullet and one fellow soldier’s death at a time.
We can never forget the sacrifice of these brave men, many who never made it back home to Des Monies, Chattanooga, Baltimore, Salt Lake or Seattle and into the arms of their mothers.
Nor can we forget the families — -and especially the mothers, who instead of welcoming their sons home from war, bore a lifetime of pain as a Gold Star Mother and joining a club they never wanted to join.
Last night, as I watched Band of Brothers, it struck me how we will never, ever be as good as these boys who became men on that fateful June day.
We are lightweights. We are soft. We are clueless about the true price they paid. And somehow I think they wouldn’t have it any other way.