Like so many veterans of World War II, my father spoke little of his wartime service. He enlisted along with millions of other young Americans in the early 1940’s after Pearl Harbor. He served in the Philippines as an Army captain, fighting in jungle conditions in New Guinea and other places “over there.” He was a great exemplar of the millions of soldiers and other military personnel who did their duty and then returned home after the war to build families and communities, trying to leave the memories of combat and hardship in the past.
70 years ago this June, Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. That historic moment in military history still stands as one of the bloodiest and most important moments in the triumph of freedom over tyranny. Sadly, war remains a tragic reality in too many places around the world, destroying countless lives and consuming stunning amounts of the world’s resources that could go to more peaceful and productive purposes.
On this Memorial Day, as we remember the old soldiers like my dad and salute those veterans who are still returning from the fronts in Afghanistan and elsewhere, many with horrific injuries, let us praise their courage and thank them for their sacrifices. And let’s also vow to redouble our efforts to work for peace, to insist that governments including our own find more rational and productive means of defense other than weapons and war.