Thinking of Those Aging Veterans Visiting Normandy Beach


After dropping Jan off at the train as I was driving back to the house to start working on Sunday’s sermon, I was listening to NPR. They spoke of the Normandy observations today, marking the 70th anniversary of that great and terrible invasion of the continent by American and allied forces. While it has been mentioned elsewhere that the Nazi army’s back probably was in fact broken at the battle of Stalingrad, this was something ferocious and dreadful and in many ways was truly one of the markers of the defeat of the Nazi nightmare. For Americans and many, it was our marker. As the president observed today this was about nothing less than the course of human history.

From that NPR story I gather some three thousand veterans are there today. If they were twenty at the time of the invasion, they would be ninety today. There was additional poignancy in knowing these ten year markers mean that the next time around there may be no more than a handful of survivors.

I find it moving that these veterans are being received like rock stars.

A cascade of thoughts. Of feelings.

I’m deeply hesitant about endorsing war. The laws of unintended consequences are vicious and nowhere more so than in the wake of war.

And.

Sometimes, it seems, there is no other way. I have friends who say there is always a way. I think they’re wrong.

Now.

I suspect our violent natures as human beings will be the death of us in the end. If, that is, our greed doesn’t get us first.

At some point I suspect we will join the host of silent planets. And it will be because of something stupid we humans have done.

But.

If only remembered in the dust swirling through the cosmos, there are beautiful and true things about us. Our music. Our art. Our ability to open our eyes and ears and hearts and witness something astonishing.

And.

And, and, among those things, is standing up, every once in a while, against the tide of human constructed horror such as the Nazi vision represented.

So.

So, a small salute to those aging veterans.

May their day be glorious.

They earned it.

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