I overheard a conversation the other day at a local Bagel Shop. As two moms sipped their moca-frappa-choco-soy-lo-cal-extra-foam-lattes, I overheard one say, "I can't believe my children are growing up in a world with no heroes..."
Seriously? NO heroes?
With one hand I reached down my throat to prevent me from choking on my bagel, and with the other hand I held onto my chair as tightly as possible to keep me from getting up and engaging in a conversation I had no right to be a part of.
Athletes have let us down.
Musicians have let us down.
Politicians have let us down.
Clergy have let us down.
Institutions have let us down.
Family members have let us down.
But the men and women of The United States Armed Forces who have laid down their lives for the sake of the freedoms we enjoy today are nothing short of heroes to be looked up to!
On June 6, 1984, President Ronald Reagan celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy with these words.
We're here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For four long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved and the world prayed for its rescue. Here, in Normandy, the rescue began. Here, the Allies stood and fought against tyranny, in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.
We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but forty years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June, 1944, two hundred and twenty-five Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs.
Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here, and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.
The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers at the edge of the cliffs, shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting, only ninety could still bear arms.
And behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there. These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. And these are the heroes who helped end a war. Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender's poem. You are men who in your "lives fought for life and left the vivid air signed with your honor."
Heroes! They are still alive and walk in our world today...
Today, as we remember the Invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, it is good time to look back at those that have laid down their lives as well as those that returned from those dangerous beaches on the coast of France. It is a good time to celebrate their valor, and HEROISM!
We also must never forget that today, the United States of America enjoys the second largest active military in the world. Our Armed Forces are filled with men and women who will willingly, gladly, and proudly lay down their lives for the cause of freedom. Heroes! They are still alive and at work in the world today. May we never take them for granted.
God bless those that have been lost.
God bless those still willing to serve.
God bless America...