The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer. Psalm 6.9
Word of Hope
July 4th we celebrated Independence Day. The true meaning of independence builds on the previous “holidays” we have commemorated- Memorial Day and D-Day! Never before has the full impact of the high price paid for my freedom been so obvious as this year.
Over a year ago the opportunity was announced for the UT Alumni Band to participate as the official band for the commemoration of the 75th D-Day remembrances in Normandy France. It was a perfect opportunity for our family. Barb’s Dad was one of the pilots involved in the invasion of Utah Beach. It was a perfect way to honor the memory of his service and all the thousands of soldiers from America and the Allied Nations who purchased our freedom on the beaches of Normandy France. We immediately signed up and started paying for the trip. Barb’s sister and one of our best friends signed on as well.
It soon dawned on me that my high school and college history courses left me with little more than an awareness that D-Day was the event that began the process of defeating the German occupation of Europe. If we were going to actually be on that hallowed ground, we needed to know the real details of the magnitude of that endeavor and how it happened and what was involved.
A trip to the World War II Museum in New Orleans gave us a vision of what went into the D-Day attack. We spent an entire day seeing pictures and visual depictions and listening to actual recordings of Eisenhower and others involved in the decision of when to start this huge process.
But seeing that and watching the movies and hearing the numbers of people involved and those who lost their lives, nothing prepares you to actually see the cemeteries! Utah Beach Cemetary has total burials of 9,388. Brittany American Cemetery is the final resting place for 4,405 of our war dead.
Hearing the UT Alumni Band play “Hymn to the Fallen” and the US and France national anthems was beyond touching on these hallowed grounds! Other bands participated as well. Visiting the graves and looking for Texans was touching. I brought poppies to place on some graves.
The enthusiasm of the French people was amazing. At St. Mere Eglise the square was totally filled with grateful French who acknowledged the part the US had in the liberation of their town 75 years ago. Seeing that beautiful burnt orange group of 280 UT Alumni Band participants come down the street for the parade was such a wonderful experience.
All 550 of us involved in this trip (and many of our Facebook friends) have a much better understanding of the cost and the success of the original D-Day.
So I hope you feel grateful for your freedom as you enjoy the rest of your Summer.
God of amazing freedom and liberty, we thank you for all those who fought and died for our freedom over the years. We thank you for our freedom to worship you in our own way, as we allow our fellow citizens that same right.
Cathedral of Hope Volunteer