On June 6th the world will observe the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion. American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad will lead a delegation to the sandy shores of France-paying respects to the thousands of allied heroes who gave their lives to liberate a continent.
Labels that we hurl today like democrat, republican, red state and blue state, matter little when facing mines and machine gunfire while charging a beach.
When one witnesses the actual reality of heroes dying, it is easy to mistake their missions as failed. Private Andy Rooney, who would later achieve fame as Sixty Minutes commentator, was a correspondent for Stars & Stripes. He interviewed a number of D-Day veterans. “All they saw were dead friends“ Rooney remembered. “ Guys drowning in the water and dead people around them. And back in London headquarters they were calling it a great victory, a great success. It didn’t look like a success to the guys who were fighting it. But it turned out it was in fact a success, and the guys who were up close and saw it firsthand were wrong; and the people who had the grand view of it were right.”
We continue to loose heroes every day-in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria; and in military training accidents and missions around the world. Some were only teenagers and many were just in their 20s are forever young, healthy and strong.
From the American Revolution to our current operations against terrorism, one million American men and women have made the Supreme sacrifice while serving in wars and conflicts. We honor all of them-who fought in the most famous battles. They all died so we can continue to cherish the things that we love-freedom, country and family.
That is why we are gathered here on Memorial Day…to honor the memory of our fallen warriors who have given everything for their country. We are also reminded on this day that in each generation, brave men and women will always step forward to take the oath of allegiance as members of America’s armed forces willing to fight, and if necessary, die for the sake of freedom. We want to be there for their families. Long after the battlefield guns have been silenced and the bombs stop exploding, the children of our fallen warriors will still be missing a parent. Parents will never stop grieving for their heroic sons and daughters that died way too early. We need to be their for all of them. Nobody can replace these fallen heroes-but we can offer shoulders to cry on and assurances that their loved one’s sacrifice will not be forgotten.
As Americans, we should all remember that freedom isn’t free. Its only possible because our fallen heroes have paid it’s high price. A price paid which enables us to have ceremonies and observances like this in communities across our great country. When we consider the sacrifice that our brothers an sister-in-arms made for us, it is the least that we can do for them.
God bless you all, God bless America and God Bless our Fallen heroes.
-Arthur M. Wright, Jr.