“Tho’ much is taken, much abides, One equal temper of heroic hearts yet strong in will, To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Tomorrow we will remember. We should remember every day. And everyday act with the character and valor of those heroes who stormed the beaches of Normandy.
Tomorrow June 6th, will be the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day. We commemorate the unparalleled heroism of human beings facing inhuman elements to begin the destruction of the most devastating evil in human history and the vanquishing of civilization’s most obscene enemy. But the remembrance must also be personal. There will be ceremonies everywhere. From city hall lawns to legion halls. Attend one. With the young people in your lives.
Despite all the hypocrisy and pettiness we detest that surrounds us all in this era, greatness can still can be found. And not just in the veterans. But their greatness has lessons for us.
What Tom Brokaw called “the greatest generation” taught us this: it can never be only about rhetoric. It’s not just about words. It’s about action. What put the “great” into that generation was a connection to the struggles for dignity of all people, and the courage to serve and sacrifice to help realize that dignity. The pounding those heroes took on the anvil of history produced the steel that is the stuff of legend. We have an obligation to honor that legend and live up to that legacy every day and in every way.
Without doubt, there remain obstacles to overcome. Injustice, oppression, apathy. But we must stay loyal to our purpose and we must be standard bearers of compassion and conscience. If we do so, it will be the living proof that the sacrifices of 75 years ago were not wasted. Everyday courage born of the belief that what is important in life is not what everybody can get for themselves, but what together we can do for the progress of mankind.
Too many of us are too self-absorbed in our private lives and too many public officials play politics at the edges never daring to care. This week, let us resolve to change. Let us resolve to look at the pictures of the young heroes of Normandy and let us absorb the spirit of the 6th of June and pledge to do better. To care for our neighbours and the most vulberablr in our communities. To be their soldiers.
“Lest we forget” is not just a motto for remembrance. It is more than anything a daily call to the best of us to act. To act with the honour and selflessness inherent in the spirit of victory in everything we do. This is the most lasting and meaningful tribute we can bring to that greatest generation who gave us D-Day as a legacy for all eternity. This is the most essential duty we have. To turn that days’ fleeting hours of hope into a permanent and constant reality.
Lest we forget, for all our todays, many gave their tomorrows.