June 6, 2021
Good morning friends. Today we honor and celebrate the 77th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion during World War II. This day commemorates the landing of US and Allied forces on the beaches of Normandy France. The European Continent had been over run, looted, destroyed and enslaved by Hitler’s Nazi army. On this day we pay tribute to our heroes. Many men fell that day, while others fought and fell on the battlefields of Europe. Since the inception of our great nation, men and women have sacrificed themselves in order to preserve our freedom and way of life. Last Monday (Memorial Day) we honored our fallen military heroes, who sacrificed themselves, so we can enjoy and live in a free society. It makes me sad knowing many Americans don’t realize what living in a free country really means. We (and our nation) owe a debt of gratitude for the actions of so many men and women since our nation was born. Without their dedication, perseverance and sacrifice, our freedom wouldn’t exist. Cherish them, honor them and respect their memories by standing up against tyranny, oppression or anything (or anyone) that threatens freedom. There are many lands across this earth where people live without individual rights or freedom. They remain enslaved by dictatorial governments that control or manipulate these people’s lives. All humans deserve to be free.
On June 6, 1944, thousands of Allied forces laid siege to a section of beaches along the French coast. Many of our soldiers died before setting foot on land that day. Others sacrificed themselves on the beaches, never leaving the blood-stained sand. US and Allied losses were horrific, yet our forces never gave up. They were determined to push Hitler’s troops off the beach that day. They understood what their mission was and what needed to be accomplished. They knew the outcome for the world would be bleak if they failed to achieve their goal. There was no Plan B. These men were strong, disciplined and determined, to defeat the Nazi defenses. It was evident it would be deadly encounter. Americans knew it had to be done at all cost. Our brave soldiers didn’t hesitate. During the first 24-hour period, Allied forces suffered nearly 5,000 killed and 10,000 wounded. German fatalities and casualties were nearly doubled, with approximately 200,000 German soldiers captured. The fortitude and courage of our soldiers, and that of our military today, maintains our freedom.
I’ve often wondered what my Dad’s thoughts were that June morning. He was a young soldier landing on Omaha Beach. I can’t even begin to imagine what emotions ran through his mind and body. I asked him several times, over the years, about his experiences during the war. He was reluctant to discuss his service, until later in life when I was older. I assume as a tenured police officer, he knew I would better understand or comprehend what he experienced during the war. I always celebrated Veteran’s Day (November 11th) with him. He would share small stories, but never went into great detail. He was a typical “Greatest Generation” man. He was definitely the strong silent type. I would get out his photo collection from the war. I’d ask questions centered on various photos, and sometimes get a story or two. When he passed away, I collected his photos and military service records. These documents provided a more detailed account about where he’d been and what he may have seen or done. His trek from the beaches of Normandy, across France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Battle of the Bulge and into Germany mirrored the “Band of Brothers” advance across the continent.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the beaches of Normandy. I offered to take my Dad back, but he always declined. He told me, “I’ve been there. I don’t need to go back.” These sections of French coastline are beautiful, peaceful; yet filled with the souls, sadness and horrors of war. It’s difficult to imagine the carnage that took place that day. As I sat on Omaha Beach I began to cry. The emotions and feelings that engulf this sacred and hallowed ground are overwhelming. Many of the men that died that day never returned home. They are forever cared for in a beautiful American cemetery at Omaha Beach. It’s a well-manicured setting overlooking the ocean. The French countrymen that care for these revered grounds are grateful for this honor. It rivals the magnificence of Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Arlington is nestled along the banks of the Potomac River, across from Washington DC. My Dad joined his comrades there several years ago. Now they all relax in eternal rest. I thank him, and all of our soldiers, for ensuring my free and prosperous way of life.
Without the sacrifices by our military members, during World War II, including all wars, conflicts and battles, before and after; we would not be living in the free society we enjoy every day. Many people take our way of life for granted or have little idea what the sacrifice for freedom really means. Some individuals don’t learn, or are taught, about our history in school. There are teachers / educators that teach their own version of our past with malice or dislike of our country. There are other individuals, whose ego, greed or negativity cloud their vision of reality. Consider what living conditions would be like if we lived under a dictatorship, totalitarian rule or communism. Freedom, as we know and love it, would not exist under these restrictive governments. The populations that live in these nations are controlled, manipulated and often persecuted. I don’t ever want to live in land without individual rights or freedom. I offer my thanks and gratitude to all our military (past and present) and all our law enforcement personnel. These individuals dedicate their lives to us and to preserve our way of life. They are my heroes.
When was the last time you did something courageous or heroic? This might be a stretch for many individuals to achieve. The better question may be, “When was the last time you did something thoughtful or kind?” It doesn’t have to be a huge or planned gesture, just a spontaneous act of kindness. Maybe you smiled and said hello, opened a door for someone, assisted someone who was struggling, or by offering soothing words to someone in need. I always enjoy engaging store clerks, cashiers or restaurant servers in conversation. Many times a friendly smile, simple “hello” or “Thank you” is enough to brighten a person’s day. It doesn’t matter whether the person reciprocates, thanks you or even acknowledges you. When you offer help or kindness, you aren’t doing it for gratification, praise or thanks. If you expect something in return, then I want you to reconsider your motivation. Your reward is knowing you’ve acted with kindness. Respect for others begins with self-love. Ego, greed or self-centered control or manipulation has nothing to do with love or kindness. Too often, we are caught up in our own little world of drama to show we really care about ourselves, let alone anyone else. Please don’t let this happen to you. We all exist on this planet together. Gratitude, kindness, respect and being thankful begin with each of us. Spread these amazing gifts daily and they will flourish.
As you continue with your Sunday, June 6th, take time to thank God for all the men who bravely fought this day, 77 years ago. Be grateful and thankful for life every day. Their sacrifices ensured our freedom and way of life. Every sunrise provides each of us a new opportunity to share our kindness and love with others. We are a great nation, yet we continue to struggle with our own internal issues. Don’t be one of those individuals who focus solely on themselves (ego, greed, negativity), rather than the good for all people. We need more kindness, respect, understanding and love in our world. Life is a gift. Please enjoy it wisely. Gratitude, humility and self-love are the key influences to our individual beginnings. Live your life with passion and love. Follow your dreams. They know the way.
Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more! The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation. Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!
Thanks for your love and support! Embrace Life! Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!