“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13
As I stand looking over the mournful sand beaches of Normandy, I tear up at the very thought of what transpired on these beaches 57 years ago, Not many miles even yards inland are many cemeteries where the fallen martyrs of the righteous cause of freedom are interred with hundreds of rows of crosses marking where their bodies have been taken from the shallow waters, sand, cliffs, and hedgerows of Normandy. As a soldier who has served in battle and war I have a sense of camaraderie with these valiant, fallen young warriors. And I mourn even more for the young generations in America and around the world that know nothing about the sacrifice, and simply do not care that they have and enjoy freedom, while not appreciating how they got it. They won’t until it is taken from them!
The experts of education have chosen not to dwell on the bloody cost of freedom in the past which allows us so much to treasure today, even while it is dribbling through our hands like so much sand in a sieve. Hence millions are growing up with no genuine knowledge of what took place here in Normandy, and in other wars required to pay the cost of freedom and the releasing of captives from oppression, a command and desire of our Lord. There are so many heart rending stories connected to the destruction and defeat of fascism and its evil perpetrators all across Europe, Asia and the Pacific that they are still being written a half century later. But the young do not read them; their minds and hearts are in the pit of despair, which they call by their illusionary names, fun and entertainment with no accountability, until it reaches up and grabs them by the throat. It is not that we do not enjoy the fruits of freedom, but we must do so with a gratefulness and appreciation for what it cost, and the awareness and vigilance to preserve it. Such does not really exist today, so we are well on the way to losing it.
As I walk these beaches and ridges and stare up at the cliffs, climbed with supreme bravery by American Rangers in the face of withering fire from the German enemy and death for most, I realize that others may see them only as beaches and hills with little significance. A few miles up the coast at Deauville and La Cote Fleurie the sunbathers and sun-worshippers enjoy the good life, never appreciating the blood spilled on these beaches a few miles west which has made their free life possible. Read of the stories of life under oppression before freedom was bought back and captives were set free; especially those of Jewish descent who faced horrors unimaginable and those complicit to their incarceration built up guilt upon guilt for their silence. These beaches mean so much more to me than the many who see nothing but sand and sea. Because of my knowledge of what took place here I read a wholly different story into the view spread before me. The knowledge of the past causes a gratefulness to spring up in my heart for what I and millions of others today have been given by those who sacrificed their life at such a young age for the precious treasure of freedom. I deeply appreciate what happened here and the cost that was paid. Such appreciation is what is required to hang on to it. It simply is not there today and this younger generation is poorer for the lack of it. They will likely see in their lifetime its loss.
Physical freedom is a marvelous benefit for any life; who can deny it. But spiritual freedom is far greater than one can possibly imagine, and it can never be taken away once one possesses it. This too cost blood as the blood spilt into the sands of Normandy. The blood shed on the cross of Calvary by the Savior extends to people from every tribe, language, race, and nation and never loses its power as Normandy has. Thank God that while the memory of Normandy quickly fades the cross of Christ after 2000 years still shines gloriously in the hearts upon whom God has set his penetrating sights. Normandy touches my heart, but Calvary cleanses it and preserves it forever!
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