Saturday, June 6, 2015

D-Day


"Soldiers win battles.  Generals get the credit."
Napoleon


My dad - somewhere in Germany

My dad was one of the brave Americans who stormed the beaches of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944.  He said the minute his boots hit the water, he accepted that this would probably be his last day on earth.  He was 21 years old.  Thankfully, my dad survived, but over 9,000 soldiers were either killed or wounded during the invasion.


 





Like many veterans, my father rarely spoke of the war, but every now and then he'd let a few things slip through. 

Dad was a medic and didn't carry a gun.  Instead he was provided with an abundant supply of morphine to ease the pain of the dying during their transition to a better place.  He said it was an honor to comfort and tend to a wounded soldier.  Sometimes a heartfelt word, direct eye contact, or the mere squeeze of a hand was the best medicine.

My dad is gone now, as are most World War II vets.  After he died, I found an old newspaper in his belongings.  In it, he highlighted excerpts from a speech delivered by President Reagan In Normandy on June 6, 1984 - the 40th anniversary of D-Day.  This part of the speech is what was important to my father:


"Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief. It was loyalty and love."

"The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead, or on the next. It was the deep knowledge -- and pray God we have not lost it -- that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt."

"You all knew that some things are worth dying for."

 
  You're a tough act to follow, Dad.   Thank you...








18 comments:

  1. Wow! Thanks Chris for sharing your Father's story. Your father and Pres. Reagan are TRUE American heroes!

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  2. Chris, your dad and the other veterans were amazing. President Reagan's words are perfect. My grandpa was in the war. Like your dad, he didn't talk about it very much. Heroes.

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  3. Chris, I really enjoyed reading your father's story! My father was in WWII as well, but unfortunately he became a prisoner of the Nazis. :( He never spoke about the pain he endured but I know it was horrible.

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  4. Chris. Thanks so much for sharing. Your dad was a brave hero. Great photos. Very touching. Brought tears to my eyes. ❤

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  5. Chris. Thanks so much for sharing. Your dad was a brave hero. Great photos. Very touching. Brought tears to my eyes. ❤

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  6. Chris. Thanks so much for sharing. Your dad was a brave hero. Great photos. Very touching. Brought tears to my eyes. ❤

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  7. Such a beautiful post, Chris, and how proud you must be feeling!!! He was a very handsome man as well as a hero!! My Dad was in WWII as well. Before the War he lost a finger in an accident and he was drafted....he could have beat it but he had to prove to the Army that he was able to shoot a rifle because he wanted to go. Thank God he came back to us but he was very nervous at times! He saw many of his friends die in front of him....yes, he's my hero as well! Thank you for sharing his story with us!

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  8. Thank you, Sue. I think they are both heroes, too.

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  9. Thanks, Candy. They were a special generation.

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  10. Linda, I can't imagine what your dad went through... So sorry that happened to him.

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  11. Thanks, Hilda, for sharing your story about your dad. It would have given many people a chance to back out, but your dad's courage and that of other veterans is what made them "the greatest generation." How awful for these young men to see friends die...

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  12. Chris, so well written, so well said. My dad was born in 1937 so not old enough to have been in this war. Not old enough for Korea. But he was in the Army and to his last breath, was a strong advocate for the U. S. military, the U. S. faith and belief in freedom. He was itching to go to Vietnam (he got out of Army as that debacle was gearing up, way back in 1962).

    I am thankful for those men with the belief and strength to stand up for this country and its belief systems. Past and present.

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  13. So interesting Chris. My Dad was also a WWII veteran.
    He spent his tour in the South Pacific and had his share of stories.
    Thanks for sharing!

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  14. Thanks, Sherry. How awesome for your family to have had your dad out of harm's way. And I have a real respect for people who stand up for faith and freedom, too.

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  15. Thanks Carmella. My uncle served in the South Pacific. Tough times there, too!

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  16. You must be so proud to have an amazingly brave father, Chris. Men like him should be celebrated for their commendable service to their country everyday. Although his soul now rests in peace, his service to the country and to your family will never be forgotten. His footsteps may be hard to follow, but I'm a hundred percent sure he's proud of you all the same. In any way, thanks for sharing that! All the best!

    Victoria Pierce @ Fight 4 Vets

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  17. Thank you,Victoria! I am proud of my dad and in awe of the brave men and women of his generation. And I hope you're right; that their service to this country is never forgotten.

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