In August of 2015, Nona and I, along with some good friends, traveled to Normandy and visited some of the D-Day beaches as well as the American Cemetery and Memorial. I was not prepared for the emotions that stepping on to this hallowed ground would provoke. And I do not use the word “hallowed” lightly. The soldiers who are buried there are indeed to be greatly revered and honored. They died courageously. They died voluntarily. They died so that others could live without having to bow to the tyranny of evil.
D-Day took place 76 years ago today. It was the largest amphibious invasion in the history of warfare. On June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 brave young soldiers from the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada stormed the beaches of Normandy, France in a bold strategy to push the Nazis out of Western Europe and turn the tide of the war for good. Because of their perseverance and grit they were successful and their efforts essentially determined that the Allies would be victorious over Hitler and the Nazis. Had they failed the world would no doubt look much different today.
But their victory came at a great price. Over 4000 soldiers gave their life that day. I took this picture as we entered the cemetery grounds.
It says: “To these we owe the high resolve that the cause for which they died shall live.”
Ponder deeply these words and never forget that men and women have made great sacrifices so that we could live in the greatest country in the world and enjoy great freedom. Relatives of yours have served and fought to this end. We live in a day where our way of life is under attack. Where our faith is under attack. I have no doubt that you will be tasked with fighting for what you believe in. Do so courageously! Do so with grit and perseverance! Do so with this in mind…
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
Right now I have the awesome privilege of cheering you on in person to live lives that matter and that make much of Jesus. One day I will be a part of that great cloud of witnesses that the author of Hebrews talks about. When that day comes perk up your ears when life seems especially difficult as I will be the one who is cheering the loudest.
Never forget that you are very loved!