“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.” –Author Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
It was a pleasant evening, June 6th, 2014 and two couples were dining out together.
The elderly couple was being treated to a night out in honor of the husband’s service.
D-Day was more than just a historical footnote in his mind.
He had been there, was part of the fifth wave approaching the beach. A wave of men who had no illusions of what awaited them. They could see it in the blood-tinged water. Those were the memories that he had shared in confidence with the younger vet who had asked him and his wife to dinner. He had trusted him with the story and the knowledge that some nightmares last a lifetime.
But that was not the strain of conversation this night. Instead, the gentle veteran of Omaha Beach D-Day landing was asked, “What is the biggest change that you have seen in your lifetime?”
Not one second elapsed before he responded, “Our values.”
Surprised that it was not technological advancements, space exploration, or the moon landing, the questioner asked him to continue. “There is not respect for others,” he said, “The profane is accepted. When you are in a ball park, watch how people respond to the anthem playing. Our flag, that symbol of freedom, used to be honored, but now it is ignored.”
This man, one of the Greatest Generation, who had passed through hell to insure the ongoing liberty of so many, was saddened over where we are today as a nation. He remembered the solemn morning of June 6th and the prayerful attention of each and every man loading onto the beachcraft as mass was spoken over all of the sons of God launching into the milieu.
Have we forgotten so soon the tremendous sacrifice and effort expended to keep us safe?
That remains to be seen.
There are still those who care, who know what matters, who cherish the values of that generation of citizens.
And we owe it to them to uphold them, to defend them, and to teach them to the next generation.
May we never forget.
From Gen. Eisenhower:
SUPREME HEADQUARTERS ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.
But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-rnan. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!
I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!
Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Remember the days when only full Victory was acceptable and let’s return there again.
Psalm 33:18, The Message (MSG): "Watch this: God’s eye is on those who respect him, the ones who are looking for his love. He’s ready to come to their rescue in bad times; in lean times he keeps body and soul together.“