June 6 is my son in law’s birthday. Bless you, Wayne. Happy Birthday! June 6 was also my Mother and Daddy’s wedding anniversary. Smilax and satin marked that day. Mother was young. Daddy was a young VMI graduate. Their marriage was blessing to at least three of us – my brother, my sister, and me. This day, June 6, 2019 is particular as we remember the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.
When Daddy graduated in 1938, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army, and sent to Georgia in command of a unit of National Guardsmen activated into duty as tensions were mounting in the world between Germany, Italy, Russia and whoever else who had a stake in control of the world. Daddy was young. Not at all a fighter. He had ended up at VMI because his tenure at NC State had resulted in little but movie tickets and he had a father who expected more of him than film literacy.
My brother was born in October 1941. He was an infant when the bombing of Pearl Harbor happened in Hawaii on Dec. 7. Richard was a baby; Mother was a new mother, and honestly a fairly new wife. The war was in full swing and the US Military were now part of it.
When the buildup of troops for the D-Day Operation swung into overdrive, Daddy and his troop were transported by train from their base in Georgia to Fort Dix, New Jersey. There they would undergo final physical exams before loading onto ships headed for Europe.
It was there that Daddy was pulled from the ranks. His rheumatic heart finally caught up with him. His leadership was compromised by his heart murmur. He landed in a hospital somewhere between New Jersey and New York while his company went on to Omaha Beach. His unit had over 100 percent casualties. If Daddy had been there, he would have been one of those casualties. And I would never have been born.
This day of remembrance and thanksgiving for all who sacrificed their lives, their potential, their families, their hopes and dreams – this day always smacks me with realization of the great gift of my own life and the great responsibility of my life to be a peace bearer and truth speaker in every place in every time for as long as I live.
Life hinges on many decisions, little choices that ripple into the ether. War is fraught with failed decisions and poor choices, huge egos and spiritual vacuums. Those who fight our wars are not usually the decision makers. They are just following orders. God be with those who are in harm’s way today. Guide us all into the way of peace. Amen.