“Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18.
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” Romans13:1,7.
Sixty years ago, the largest assault of World War II took place as allied troops from the United States, Great Britain, and Canada went up against tremendous odds to gain a foothold in France. This foothold ultimately led to Berlin and the end of the war, but along the way, thousands of servicemen lost their lives leaving behind grieving families.
t wasn’t a casual decision that led to this monumental attack, but careful planning that took two years and the minds of military genius. With it came the grim realization that the Germans would know that an attack was imminent and would therefore take measures to prevent an invasion at all cost.
Plans for an attack were to take place earlier, but inclement weather prevented the landing until the morning of June 6, a day later than planned. Even that date was doubtful for a while until the weather cleared and the invasion continued as planned.
Of all the beaches, the one code named ‘Omaha’ was the heaviest fortified and would prove the most difficult to take. Still, in order for the operation to be a success, the troops had to take their chances and storm the beach looking for what small cover available. On that fateful morning 34,000 troops landed on that small section of beach. By the end of the day there were 2,400 casualties.
Looking back today, we see the entire picture of how despite incredible odds; the Allied forces were ultimately victorious.
There are many television specials that chronicle that fateful day step by step. On the Internet are numerous sites that tell the personal stories of those who participated in the D-Day assault.
One particular site I visited told of the enormous price paid on that day. It told of over 90 percent casualties for Company A and the small town of Bedford Virginia (population 3,200) who experienced the highest one-day loss of any town in the United States during the war. One of the mothers in this small town lost both of her sons. Shortly after learning the news, the family received a package with their son’s Bible still dry indicating he made it to the beach before being killed. Another soldier found it the day afterward and sent it home along with a letter. (For more on this and other stories go to www.thehistorynet.com).
I realize this column is somewhat a departure from my usual format, but after much prayer I felt it was crucial that I call attention to what is being called “the greatest generation ever”. The generation is those who lived through World War II, sacrificing for the good of the country. They are the generation who gave so much, sometimes even their own lives for the sake of freedom.
What would have happened if the allied forces weren’t successful in the D-Day invasion? What would have been the ultimate outcome of World War II? If the war had dragged on for several more years how many more would lose their lives for the sake of freedom.
As Americans we take our freedom too lightly. The mere fact that I can write this column came at a price to preserve freedom by those men and women in the military who put their lives on the line for all Americans. Our religious freedom is so precious and yet I find myself taking it for granted far too often and fail to realize how blessed the United States has always been.
As Americans it is our duty to pray always for our service men and women who are in harm’s way and for our leaders. We need to pray for their safety and for wisdom in the decisions being made that will affect our future. We need to pray that we will never take for granted the religious freedom we have that was bought with the price of blood shed for our country.
On this sixtieth anniversary of D-Day I was made aware of what really took place on the beaches of Normandy long ago. I thank God for bringing this to my attention so that I can give thanks for the sacrifices of others. I want to say thank you and God bless you to all who served in the military to keep our country free.