Gaining a foothold at Normandy.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
2 Corinthians 4:7
D-Day at Normandy
74 years ago, on June 6, 1944, 156,000 Allied soldiers – the bulk of which were made up of American and British forces – made amphibious and air landings on Normandy, France. Their task was to drive German forces away from the shore in order to obtain a foothold in Europe from which to win back Europe from Nazi, Germany.
One of those men was my grandfather, Private Edward Blonski of the 1st Infantry Division. He would survive D-Day only to be wounded five months later in the forest outside of Bastogne, Belgium.
After he was awarded the Purple Heart for his wound he was sent home. He would raise a family, live a peaceful life as a U.S. Postal carrier in Hegewisch, Illinois until he entered his eternal rest. His Purple Heart was passed on to me by my grandmother.
My grandfather never talked about the war with me. Which was typical of his generation. Nearly all I’ve been able to learn of World War II has been from movies such as “The Longest day” and “Saving Private Ryan,” and TV shows such as “Band of Brothers.” But movies and such can only convey so much truth. There are very, very few people today who were actually there to tell their story of D-Day.
The Dwindling Numbers
The number of veterans of World War II grows smaller every day. In this regard we can be thankful for the movies, TV shows and books in order to keep the story alive so that we can never forget. And we should not forget. Not because so many heroic things were done during the war. And certainly not because war is glamorous or a glorious adventure.
No, we should never forget for at least two reasons. One, men and women sacrificed themselves for a cause greater than themselves. Men like my grandfather who would survive D-Day and men like my great uncle who died on Iwo Jima. Whether we agree or not with why they fought in war, we should not forget their honor, their integrity, nor their sacrifice. The second reason we should not forget is so that we understand what war is all about. It is not something to be entered into lightly or inadvisdedly.
A Necessary Evil
War is ugly. War is dirty. It is not an adventure to be sought out, but rather sometimes a necessary fight to overcome evil. I believe it is to be avoided if at all possible. But I also believe that sometimes it cannot be avoided.
I’ve heard it said that, “war is hell.”
No, war is not hell. But as bad as it is, war is not as bad as hell, because all wars come to an end eventually. Hell goes on for eternity. But it can be avoided. There is a way out. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born, lived, died, rose again and ascended to save every human being from sin, death (hell), and the power of the devil (for whom hell was created in the first place). As we remember the men and women who sacrificed 70 years ago on what was called “D-Day” – let us also remember that Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for us on the cross to save us from our sins.
Treasures in Jars of Clay
Because there are very few veterans of World War II left, let that remind us that life is fragile. Life is to be respected and cherished because it is a gift of God.
And life on this earth is fleeting. But because of the love of God, life does not end for those who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Heavenly Father, on this anniversary of D-Day, I pray for the men and women who have worn the uniform of their country. Thank you for the sacrifice they have made. I also pray for the men and women who serve today. I pray you will keep them safe as they serve. Finally, I pray that you will strengthen the resolve of your people to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that no one need fear death and hell ever again. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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