“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.” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower
Today, marks the 69th anniversary of “D-Day.” For those of you perhaps yet too young to understand, it commemorates the day that 150,000 Allied soldiers landed on the shores of Normandy with “ships, landing crafts and planes leaving port by the tends of thousands” and forward towards a most unfriendly shore.
They were just boys when they first landed―becoming men soon after their feet hit that first foxhole. By nightfall, more than 9,000 Allied solders were dead or wounded. Some, never made it to that first foxhole.
For many years, I never understood why my father was so deathly afraid of boats. I never understood why he had such trouble sleeping. And, I never understood growing up why it was difficult to have friends over.
Though, in looking through these old photos―I believe I have moved closer to understanding.
I often wonder what few thoughts must have raced through the minds of these young heroes as they made ready for their descent. Some years later, and on the topic of true leadership, my father once remarked, a true leader is the one whose presence will carry you through your very own fear.
These men knew fear unlike anything we might ever imagine. And yet, each day they stood toe to toe, staring right back into fear’s eyes.
Ask any veteran, “Why did you do this..?”
They’ll answer simply, “Because, it was the right thing to do…”
So, in celebration of this, the 69th anniversary of D-Day―may we commemorate those whose light still shines brightly for us.
p.s. – Thank you, Dad…