D-Day Anniversary #67

6 Jun

So I know that we already had Memorial Day – and I hope that you all had a 3-day fantastic weekend – but sometimes I do think that that holiday’s original purpose as a day to honor all fallen American soldiers gets a little lost in our celebration of the three-day weekend.  I don’t think that our taking full advantage of the temporal wonder that is the three-day weekend is a bad thing, because I love them, and what’s the point of being a citizen in a free country if you can’t have a little mini-vacation?  But I’d like to take today to remind you of the sheer awesomeness that is the American soldier so we can all appreciate the sacrifices he (yeah, or she) has made for us.

Today’s an especially good day to have a somber moment, as it is the anniversary of the day the Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy to really stick it to the Nazis.  It was the largest amphibious assault ever undertaken in the history of the world.  (+50 respect points if you can name all the beaches involved in the invasion).  The Allies landed maybe 156,000 troops in Normandy, of which around 73,000 were American soldiers.  Over the course of the Battle of Normandy, over 425,000 (Allied and German and we think that number’s right, but it’s hard to know for sure) men were wounded, went missing in action, or were killed in action. 

You can see the names of the men from Washington were lost their lives during this war, and all others that have occured for as long as the state of Washington has had men who volunteered, at the Garden of Remembrance near Benaroya Hall.  While you’re there, you might also visit the Seattle Veterans Museum, which is also nearby.

While you’re at it, you might also venture towards the International District to take in the Nisei War Memorial, which commemorates the Japanese-American soldiers – many of them first or second-generation Americans – who fought for their country.  Ha!  Maybe you thought that all the Japanese Americans in this country were rounded up and sent to internment camps during the war following the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Okay, most of them were.  Many of them Japanese-American soldiers who made up the 442nd infantry regiment had families who were.  But still they volunteered, insisting that they be allowed to express their patriotism and prove that they were loyal to the United States.  That regiment threw itself into combat in the European theater and became the most highly decorated unit in the history of the U.S. armed forces.

So I’ve been on this total World War Two kick, but let’s please not forget the men who are serving here and overseas today, still subject to hardship and the incessant attack of insurgent forces, five of whom were killed by rocket fire today in Baghdad.  However you might feel about the war, or about war in general, you have people fighting for your right to live as you’d like, free to pick up pizza at your local store without ever having to wonder if a suicide bomber is going to stroll in and ruin your day (see:  Israel).  I know I’ve spoken about this before, but now that I’ve got you all somber and easily persuaded, I urge you to go to the Soldiers’ Angels site to sign up as a letter writer.  Or a care package sender.  Or to adopt a soldier.  Or, if that’s too much for you, maybe just turn to your grandpa, or your friend (who doesn’t have a friend who’s serving the armed forces by now?) or even just your military reserve colleague and give them a hug.  Give them thanks. 

Today’s a good day for it.  (Any day is a good day for that.)

P.S.  Hey, SuperCody – be safe out there.

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