Several years ago I had the opportunity to travel to France with my daughter. It was a wonderful trip with many highlights including our visit to the beaches of Normandy on the anniversary of D-Day. As we arrived at the beach at sunset the crowds had disappeared and we were completely alone. Walking in silent reverence along the beach we saw that someone had written in large letters in the sand “Thank you, Yanks!”.
I wish I had taken a picture, but the image is as clear in my mind today as it was then. The words still catch in my throat as I remember the sun setting below the horizon and darkness beginning to envelope us. That day, nearly seventy years earlier, marked the beginning of the end of the darkness that was enveloping Europe and the world.
9,000 soldiers stenciled on Normandy beach in 2013 to commemorate the fallen of D-Day.
The next day we visited the American Cemetery on the bluffs above the beach where we walked among the thousands of crosses of slain American heroes. We truly walked on hallowed ground that day.
As we commemorate Memorial Day this year, and the anniversary of D-Day shortly thereafter, I want to add my thanks to those written in the sands of Normandy that day. Thank you to the “Yanks” of my father’s generation who fought against evil and oppression… and won. And left the world a better place.
Today, the world is again threatened with darkness. Is this generation up to the task? Are there brave men and women willing to stand up to tyranny and oppression today? I believe there are. I’m reminded of the last stanzas of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem and hymn “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”.
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”
May today’s leaders, and each of us individually, seek God’s wisdom as we navigate through what could be some very troubled waters ahead. With God’s help the wrong will fail, and the right will prevail , with peace on earth, good will to men.