Did you know this past Monday was D Day?

So, Monday, June 6, was D-Day: the anniversary of the Normandy landings in 1944. I didn’t realize it until late in the day. Today, to honor it, I watched the address Eisenhower delivered to the men. Listen to it.

Looking at the faces of these enlisted men in the audience, I see my young father.

My parents – maybe yours, too- spent their adolescence witnessing unfolding reports about the second world war in much the same way we are today experiencing Russia’s assault on the Ukraine. In the 1930’s, as images of destruction and genocide became commonplace, the majority agreed that Hitler and Stalin’s facism was evil. My father’s generation was sent to save us.

Drafted in 1944, my dad did not see any actual battle. He was shipped out in peacetime as a military police officer. Stationed in Southern France, he was issued a motorcycle. His patriotism grew as the liberated world welcomed him. He was adored. He learned French quickly, because of Latin skills learned at a Jesuit high school and contemplations of priesthood. By the time he returned, he was fluent in French, and no longer confident in his vocation. He started college on the GI Bill before he married. He tried to earn his language credits by taking French backwards – French 4 freshman year; French 3 sophomore year; French 2 junior year; French 1 senior year. They caught up with him in the senior year, made him take another year of language. German. He struggled with it.

No matter, he had reason to be cocky. He was a member of The Greatest Generation.

A page out of dad’s World War II photo album – the only photo album he ever kept.

Facism’s face is rising again. Genocide is happening in real time, and we have been asked to witness it. It’s happened before: either by choice or force, charismatic dictators have taken over when democratic government appeared to be falling apart.

This past Monday was D-Day. How did you acknowledge it?

via army.mil

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