Thursday, June 6, 2019

75 Years Ago Today, Humanity Stood Up and Said "No More!"

I believe, that over and through time there are certain days and dates, no matter how long ago, no matter how far away the events were, will always make us pause and remember.  Today, and I hope you are fully aware by this point, June 6, is one of those days.

Today is D-Day, yet 75 years past.

I also believe that some days we should focus on and celebrate our shared American patriotism.  But then, they are days, that I believe are of such greater importance that it overshadows our own, at times seemingly naive American patriotism and is elevated to a much greater level and that is the celebration of humanity.  And, it was humanity, not American patriotism that struck a chord in millions of human beings around the world to join together, to do whatever they could and understand that this day was a day where the best of humanity would have to battle the worst in humanity to help liberate the souls that were suffering, dieing and the future souls that could become victim to the scourge of Naziism.

The level of care and concern for the common human soul went above what nation they were from, what religion they practiced, what political beliefs they had and simply became a cause to stop the suffering of souls in Europe.

They new it would be difficult, most knew that were going to die or had a very high chance of dyeing.  But the idea that the Nazi scourge would go on any longer was too but to bear in their hearts and their own souls, so they banned together and said, 'enough!'  It is time to do the impossible.

It was, and still is (from what I understand) the largest amphibious invasion in known history.  It encompassed more that 156,000 people from numerous nations including the British Empire, Canada, Australia, Czechoslovakia, France, Norway, Poland and the United States.  To imagine the amount of people that day that stormed five beaches was the combined total population of Wichita, Wilbarger, Baylor and Archer Counties in Texas today.  And everyone had the exact same goal, invade, fight, conquer and free the souls of France and eventually of Germany.

There were thousands more that later, over the next year invaded northern Africa, then Italy and many areas in between on the western front.

From today, June 6 until less than a year later, in late April of the following year, Hitler and his leaders were dead, arrested or surrendered and by early May the Victory in Europe was announced as troops marched on Berlin and the Nazis surrendered.

Today the leaders of the Allied nations and Germany, D-Day participants that are left and many grateful people have gathered not only on the five beaches in northwest France, but in Caen, France, and Portsmouth, England (where the invasion kicked off from the other side of the Channel) to mark the occasion.

Many have given speeches but two seem to stand out on this solemn but momentous occasion.  And, the two that gave the speeches may not be the two you would think would have spoken with such eloquence and grace.  But, they did and here is who they were and what they said.

The first is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Northern Ireland...she said:

"Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman,

When I attended the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the D-Day Landings, some thought it might be the last such event.  But the wartime generation - my generation - is resilient, and I am delighted to be with you in Portsmouth today.

Seventy-five years ago, hundreds of thousands of young soldiers, sailors and airmen left these shores in the cause of freedom.  In a broadcast to the nation at the time, my Father, King George VI, said: '...what is demanded from us all is something more than courage and endurance; we need a revival of spirit, a new unconquerable resolve...'  This is exactly what those brave men brought to the battle, as the fate of the world depended on their success.

Many of them would never return, and the heroism, courage and sacrifice of those who lost their lives will never be forgotten.  It is with humility and pleasure, on behalf of the entire country - indeed the whole free world - that I say to you all, thank you."

The other perspective came from what many would view as an unusual source, German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  Her words were elegant and visionary as the the perspective she has and her nation has, as a whole; here is her statement:

"It was a unique military operation; unprecedented.  

And for us in Germany it lead ultimately to liberation from the Nazis.  

It claimed an unbelievable number of lives, hundreds of thousands of soldiers were involved, a huge logistics operation.  

And it was to lead to something that we can be very proud of today, namely reconciliation and unity within Europe and the whole post-war order that has brought us peace in Europe now for more than seven decades.  

And, the fact that I, as German Chancellor can be part of this today; that today we are working together for peace and freedom, that is a gift of history, we need to protect and maintain."

It must be acknowledged that the relationship of the United States and its allies, most importantly Canada and Great Britain has also been forged with our former enemies, just 75 years ago, including the closest of ties with Germany and Japan.  The point is, even after a war of unfathomable horrors we can overcome our differences through negotiation and time to create new bonds and friendship and prosperity.

But I close today, with a question, something for each of us to answer internally within our own consciousness.  

If there was another need of a D-Day today, such as in Europe, Japan, Australia or Canada, would we respond the way we did 75 years ago.  Of course we would be concerned for our own future and the possibility that the threat would not stop there and eventually reach American soil, but if it wasn't quite at that point yet, but millions of souls were being persecuted, occupied, killed and generally endangered, would we each step up in a way we can?  Would we encourage our children of military age to do all they can to stop it?  Not for the reason of our own self defense, or for the rights to oil and natural resources but simply because human souls are under threat of persecution and death?  Would we make the same decision today?  

I would hope so but there is a growing skepticism in me, that in today's age, as a whole we would not.  And, we would let humanity suffer because it didn't endanger or local American security or patriotism.  If that is true, it is sad because it means turning our backs on human souls, to let them suffer.

We are each human souls created equally by our creator, no matter where we come from, no matter what flag we fly, no matter what religion we follow or don't follow.  We should have the greatest bond of them all, the fact that we are human beings who all deserve our own lives and souls to live.

Bryan W. Rupp