By David R. Brewer
June 6, 1944 is a date that should live in the memory of every American, the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of D-Day. Young men, most of them only nineteen years old stormed the beaches of Normandy to deliver Europe from the clutches of Nazi tyranny. They laid aside their personal dreams to respond to the call of duty, honor, and country. These young men had grown up in the depression, and they were tempered by hardships and challenges. It was the age of true heroes, as they walked in the footsteps of men like Teddy Roosevelt who championed ideas of courage and moral responsibility. Roosevelt said: “Each of us has not only his duty to himself and family, but his duty to the nation. For the sake not only of ourselves but of our children and our children’s children we must see that this nation stands for strength and honesty. Let us see to it that we neither do wrong nor shrink from doing right because the right is difficult.”
One of these heroes was our own Warren Goss, who was in the first wave on Utah Beach on D-Day, as our brave men assaulted fortress Europe that had been overrun by the German armies. He miraculously survived and was able to fight his way into Germany. Recently Warren was awarded the prestigious Legion of Honor by the nation of France. A humble Christian, Warren does not refer to himself as a hero because he believes the heroes are the men who never made it home.
The men who landed on D-Day had to wade ashore through murderous machine gun zones, with mortar and artillery fire raining down on them while they were avoiding deadly mines on the beaches. Their casualties were high, their courage was legendary, and their patriotism was exceptional. They had to defeat an evil enemy who had taught the Hitler youth that hate is more important than love, that mercy is weakness, and the Darwinian principle that only the strong survive.
While Warren was fighting on the ground, Walter Reddy was flying a B-17 bomber overhead, pounding the enemy fortifications and paving the way for the ground troops. Like our assault troops, the casualty rates of our bomber crews were very high as these valiant airmen flew into harm’s way.
These men left their homes and communities from all over the U. S. to rescue innocent families who had been swept up by the German armies. They freed nations from the clutches of Hitler who sent millions of Jews to concentration camps, and who caused the death of untold numbers of men, women, and children through battle, disease, and starvation.
Years ago President Reagan spoke these words on the beaches of Normandy to our veterans:
“Some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life
before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it?
What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and
risk your lives . . . It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love.
The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right,
faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them
mercy on this beachhead or the next.
You all knew that some things are worth dying for, and democracy
is worth dying for. The Americans who fought here knew that God was an
ally in this great cause. General Matthew Ridgway listened for God’s
promise made to Joshua: “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
There are some tremendous truths that we should glean from World War II:
We should know that ideas have consequences. The German universities had rejected God because they believed that science and education had made God unnecessary. Their universities were respected throughout the world, but when Germany substituted an earthly god for the one true God, it led to utter ruin. Hosea 10:13 says: “You have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. . . the roar of battle will rise against your people, so that all of your fortresses will be devastated.”
We must remember the biblical teaching on the sinful nature of mankind. In this fallen world we must maintain eternal vigilance against evil men and corrupt nations. (Jeremiah 17:9)
Warfare is a terrible scourge on mankind, but the policy of appeasement never stops aggressive, evil countries. It only feeds their appetite for conquest because they perceive appeasement to be weakness. Evil can only be conquered through courage, action, and prayer.
No nation can make up its own laws. All countries in every age are accountable to the
unchanging and eternal law of God. This was reinforced by the Nuremburg Trials which established international “crimes against humanity,” and punished the Nazi leaders as war criminals.
We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our men and women who served during World War II. Some served in the Pacific theater against a fanatical Japanese foe that had rampaged throughout Asia. Our marines fought their way through far off islands that became household names like Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, and Okinawa. They were forever etched in American hearts by the epic raising of our flag on Mt. Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima.
We cannot forget our brave veterans who served in other conflicts like Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of these Americans returned home with Post Traumatic Stress, or who were permanently disabled from their wounds. And many thousands never returned home at all. Psalm 116:15 says: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”
Although our schools and universities have neglected our nation’s heritage, forgotten many of our heroes, and tarnished America’s illustrious history, we of the Christian community must pass on the truth of God, the greatness of the sacrifice of our heroes, and the beauty of America’s values as a “light set on a hill” of liberty and justice for the generations to come. Only then will we honor God, and raise up children equal to the challenges they will face in the future. God bless America.