Saturday, June 7, 2014

A Day For Remembering

Scott D. Parker

I spent some good quality time yesterday watching various D-Day programs. I woke early enough to catch some of the coverage of the ceremonies live. I watched Michael Beschloss and others talk and Chuck Todd interview a couple of veterans. Later, I watched the special with Brian Williams who featured four additional vets and their stories. I even broke out Saving Private Ryan and watched the opening segment.

I’m a history major so dates and what came before is never far from my mind. But I always appreciate anniversaries like the 70th for D-Day to remind everyone of the big events that shaped our world and the small ones that colored it.

At the end of the Brian Williams special, the camera panned up and showed the cemetery and the rows of crosses at night. It’s a shot you rarely see. Most of the time you see the cemetery, it’s in the daylight. The darkness, with the shadows created by the TV lights, gave the rows an otherworldly glow. The scene moved me.

It’s odd watching all that coverage and reading the history and just being so awed at the courage of those men and then doing normal things like driving to pick up a pizza or writing this blog or heading out to the drugstore to pick up batteries for my car’s remote. But then I realized that it was for precisely those things--those mundane things to which these men returned--that they fought and died.

Man. It’s hard to comprehend the gift they gave us. Let’s make sure that, in ten years when we celebrate the 80th anniversary and there will likely be no living D-Day veterans present, that we remember their sacrifice and bravery. And also on the 81st, and the 82nd, and ever onward.

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