It was a war between Good and Evil, and Evil was winning. Out of Europe had come a maniacal dictator with a philosophy of Fascism and a gospel of hate. He had dreams of creating a new world order; a world purged of Jews and governed by his perverted perspective. His name was Adolf Hitler, and he was determined to take over the world. By 1944 this tyrant and his war machine had taken most of Western Europe. Some countries fell because they had limited resources and others fell because their will was weak, led and filled with men not willing to make a stand. The tiny island of Britain remained one of the last European holdouts.
At this time there was a Nation that stood up and said "Enough, this will not stand". That country was the United States of America, and she was coming to Britain’s aid.
The photograph above was taken on June 5, 1944, one day before the Allied invasion of Europe on the beaches of Normandy. This image captures one of the Defining Moments in American history. General Eisenhower is speaking to a group of paratroopers. He is sending them on a mission, and it will be a suicide mission. Within 24 hours they are to be dropped into enemy territory. Within 24 hours, many of them will be dead. We know this now, and they knew it then. Look at the determination on Eisenhower’s face, and ask yourself, how could he send these men to an almost certain death. Look at the quiet resolve on the face of the men, and ask yourself how could they face so great a mission with such calm reserve.
The answer to both questions is simple. These were men who believed in a country and believed in a cause more important than their very lives. They were willing to trade their life for the country and the cause they loved. Freedom of their families and their country was more important to them than the length of their lives. The calm came not from a lack of understanding the risks, but from a full understanding of the importance of the cause. We must ask ourselves, what would the world look like today without their sacrifice? What would the world be without men such as these, willing to make a stand?
Evil is on the move in the world again today, an evil element on par with the brutal regime of Hitler. Again today, men have stood up and put their lives on the line. Men are standing up and shedding blood on foreign soil in the hopes of preventing the shedding of the blood of their friends and family on American soil. How can we thank men like this, past and present? We can thank them by each purposing in our heart to make a Nation that continues to be worthy of their sacrifice. We must love and cherish the priceless gift that has been given to us at so great cost . . . our freedom.