We mark today as significant. We remember the sacrifice made by so many young men, barely more than boys, as they sought to do their part pry the Nazi grip off of Europe. The price of Nazi defeat staggers the mind. More than 4400 men died on D-Day alone.
What do the deaths of 4400 American, British, and Canadian men mean? What exactly do we remember?
From this day alone, 4400 sons never sailed home.
Little brothers and sisters never saw their older brothers again.
Chairs sat empty the following Christmas and the one after that. They were never filled.
Sweethearts kissed their boyfriends good-bye, and that young woman bore with her the heartbreak and emotional complexity of love cut short for the rest of her life.
Fathers passed their trade or family business to someone else.
Children never met their fathers; mothers nursed their babies through tears.
Fathers and grandfathers who hoped and prayed their sons would never see the horrors they had in the second decade of the century found themselves receiving news that their own offspring had not been as blessed as they had. The elder survived. The younger did not.
Groups of friends from big cities to small towns across Britain and North America would never reunite. One of the gang never saw anything after Omaha Beach.
What a cost. What else was paid that we cannot know?
Thankful for their sacrifice, we lament they had to make it.
Thankful for their bravery, we lament men ever have to face a hail of machine gun fire to do what is noble and just.
Thankful for General Eisenhower’s ingenuity and planning, we lament circumstance demand he apply intelligence his intelligence in such a way.
We pray for peace for the few men left from this terrible day. We pray the image of a sea red with blood would fade into clear memories of the smiling faces of those who paid the ultimate price, remembering them at their best moments, not at their last. Would Almighty God bless them with joy today. Would they know we give them the best appreciation we can as those who were not there and cannot understand. The grace of God be with them.
Come, Lord Jesus.
What's News: Podcast from The Wall Street Journal with a short recollection from a D-Day veteran
9 Things to Know About D-Day
Albert Mohler’s Tribute to the Men of D-Day (Heading The Briefing, click Part III)