“We know that progress is not inevitable.
But neither was victory upon these beaches.
Now, as then, the inner voice tells us to stand up and move forward.
Now, as then, free people must choose.”
— President Bill Clinton
On Tuesday the 6th June 1944, over 150,000 Allied Troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, France. That day as you know is known as D-Day.
The Allied operation began the liberation of German-occupied Europe from Nazi control and is recognised as being the significant turning point in World War II.
When I was in my early teens my family were in France on holidays and my father took us to see some of the War Memorials. I remember myself and my brother marvelling at the tanks and the weapons used in the war.
We were typical boys – interested in the machines in front of us without realising the terrible horror that humans had inflicted on each other using them.
But that changed when my Dad brought us to one of the many graveyards in the region.
Even today I still remember the shock of seeing so many white crosses marking plots – as far as the eye could see – where the bodies of young men from both sides lay.
At this time of the year I often think about that visit.
Firstly, it reminds me that even the darkest days can be turned around and the biggest goals can be achieved with focus, planning, training, co-operation, persistence and thinking big.
Secondly, it reminds me not just of the incredible sacrifices that were made then to protect our freedom – but also on the responsibility I have to make things better for future generations.
It would be nice to think that our great grand-children will look back on this time with appreciation for the difference we have made.
But that will mean listening more to the inner voice Bill Clinton mentions above.
Food for thought…
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