D-Day may be the most humbling moment in world history. It is, indeed, one of the most important days in the history of mankind. On that day, June 6, 1944, the United States, Great Britain and Canada joined forces to save the world from the worst tyranny known to mankind. Aided by the French resistance (and others), they started a battle that would be a turning point in the effort to save the world from the forces of evil. As a result, they secured the freedom that this country and numerous other nations continue to enjoy today.
The 9,387 U. S. military buried at the American Cemetery at Normandy, and tens of thousands of others, launched the D-Day invasion knowing they were writing a blank check made out to their country for any amount, up to and including their lives. Their selflessness assured not only freedom for their own nation, but for millions of people across Europe.
Each of these men and women worked together for the betterment of the world without regard to race, religion, ethnic background or geographic domicile. Christians, Jews, Muslims and others didn’t care that their fellow soldiers might have different religious beliefs. Americans of British, German, Irish, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, Polish and virtually every other ethnic background imaginable, had no prejudice that day. Black, white or brown, skin color didn’t matter. What mattered was that they were fighting for the most fundamental human right – freedom. They were fighting for their own country and for other people’s countries as well. Indeed, they were fighting for the world.
The American Cemetery at Normandy sits on American soil, despite the fact that it is located across a vast ocean from the United States. The land was given to us by the grateful people of France. In that beautiful cemetery, our soldiers and airmen and marines are buried side-by-side under Crosses, Stars of David, and Crescent Moons. Just like when they sacrificed their lives, there is no concern about their race, ethnicity or religious beliefs. They lived and died, united, as Americans.
The stable governments, relative peace and freedom enjoyed by much of the world the past 76 years is owed to them and their counterparts from other countries who fought so valiantly. If ever there was an example of the importance of good international relations, D-Day was it.
Those who fought didn’t risk or sacrifice their lives so that today individuals would be treated differently depending on their skin color. Or so that some could impose their religious beliefs on others. They didn’t do it so that any nationality or religion could be demonized. They didn’t do it so we could build walls to keep people from other nations out – many of them were first generation Americans, or themselves immigrants.
They gave their lives for the most sacred gift we have – freedom. Their call to battle was formed out of our nation’s fundamental principles:
- All people are born equal
- Our unalienable rights include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
- Governments derive their power from the consent of the governed
We can never repay our debt to those who died on D-Day, or the millions who died throughout WWII, but we can earn a little bit of it back by being better citizens – by treating everyone with the same rights and dignities that we all derive from our constitution. We pay back a little bit of our debt by becoming better informed citizens. Understand how your government works. Take the time to learn the issues related to their government – all sides. Get your news from multiple, reliable sources with different viewpoints. Base your opinion on facts.
We can also pay a bit of our debt by being better educated voters. Know who the candidates are, not by their commercials, party affiliation or news headlines, but by their experience, history and position papers. Then, get out and support deserving candidates by contributing to and volunteering for their campaigns. Make well-educated votes in every possible election. That is the only way we can preserve the freedom for which the men and women who sacrificed their lives on D-Day and in World War II fought so valiantly.
Millions of Allied troops died in WWII. May God bless each and every one of them and may we earn and protect the freedom they gave us.
God Bless America.