Thursday, June 6, 2013

Grandeur and Dust

So nigh is Grandeur to our Dust,
so near to God is Man.
When Duty whispers low, "Thou must"
the Youth replies, "I can".

- Emerson

Suzanne and Ryan's wedding day is now just three months away.  Jess and Rob are to be wed one year from this very day.  This time next year - and for every year thereafter - June 6th shall be a date that shall have a very personal, heightened significance in our family. 

It is of course already a day of significance in our family as it is in yours irrespective of whether you devote any portion of this day - or any day throughout the year for that matter  - contemplating it.  Today marks the sixty-ninth anniversary of D-Day.  Sixty-nine years ago today, the Allied forces stormed the beaches at Normandy, France and set in motion the long, inexorable and inevitable process of wresting control of Europe away from Hitler and his military machine.  The men who fought and died that day died without knowing that what was set in motion on the beaches of France would culminate in the surrender of the Germans and the Italians and the cessation of the war in Europe within a year's time and the unconditional surrender of the Japanese some three-plus months and two atomic bombs later.  

One of my favorite places to visit in these United States is the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.  I have had the chance to visit it on two different occasions within the past several years and to share the experience of it with my family and close friends.  If you have not been there - or if you are a parent and your child or children have never been there - then do yourself the great service of visiting it.  Admission is free.  The impression left is indelible.  

It has been often been said that neither a man nor a nation can chart a future without knowing the past for he who does not know history is doomed to repeat its failures.  This remarkable piece of real estate, located as it is between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, serves not only as a reminder of that lesson's significance but also as a testament to the courage and the valor of those who strived to ensure success, knowing that success was the only way to secure freedom.  Freedom of those they did not know, living under tyrannical rule, and those of us yet to arrive on the scene.  Not only are they there in spirit at the Memorial, those still able to make the trip are present in the flesh as well.

They are now old men.  But once upon a lifetime ago they were boys.  Boys whose sacrifice should never and shall never be forgotten.... 


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