Seventy-five years ago, June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 brave Allied soldiers invaded the shores of Normandy in France as part of Operation Overlord. The D-Day attack began with paratroopers jumping in the darkness behind enemy lines. Their job was to destroy key targets and capture bridges so the main invasion force could land on t he beach. The next stage involved thousands of planes dropping bombs on German defenses. And soon following, warships began to bomb the beaches from the sea. While this was going on, underground members of the French Resistance sabotaged the Germans by cutting telephone lines and destroying railroads.
Then came the main invasion force of 6,000 ships carrying troops, weapons, tanks, and equipment all needed for the beach invasion. On one of those ships was my father-in-law, Dr. Wilbur E. New. Though Dr. New’s job on this Navy vessel was a cook, everyone had an important function and battle station. His ship wasn’t in the first wave of action because it was carrying General Omar Bradley. They actually landed some 24 hours after the initial attack. Over 2,500 American soldiers, around 2,000 British and Canadians, and somewhere between 4-9,000 Germans lost their lives that day. I remember Dr. New talking about the scene as his ship approached the beach … mass destruction, the smoke and smell, hundreds of bodies floating in the sea. We’ve likely all read accounts, watched movies, and heard stories of this day that literally changed the course of history. This was the beginning of the end for Hitler and Nazi Germany’s genocidal machine, even though the official surrender wasn’t until May 7, 1945.
I am and should be immensely grateful to my father and father-in-law who fought in WWII … in fact, to that entire generation. Our way of life and freedoms are in large part due to their commitment, love, devotion, submission, and sacrifice. It’s nearly inconceivable to show disrespect to these soldiers and what they did for us.
Yet we are often utterly disrespectful to Another who made the ultimate sacrifice on another d-day on a hill just outside of Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago. His love, commitment, devotion, submission, and sacrifice is infinite and changed the world for eternity. Our way of life and freedom from the tyranny of sin and evil was secured at that time and place in history. The enemy and death was handed a death blow that day, even though we await His second coming and completion of the salvation He earned for us there on Calvary.
So as we remember the brave soldiers who were a part of D-Day, those who died and those who lived, let us remember and show respect to our Savior Jesus Christ who lived, died, and rose again and who defeated an even greater enemy. Let us live in such a way today, and every day, that we show respect and honor and thanksgiving for what He has done for us.