Remember D-Day from a former Royal Engineer
It is with great reverence and respect that I look back on the events on seventy years ago, when brave men from the joint allied forces stormed the beaches of Northern France to get a foothold in Northern mainland Europe against the occupying forces of Nazi Germany who were threatening to invade the UK.
Without a doubt, had the D-Day landings failed the Second World War could have gone much differently. I watched a movie a few years ago called “Fatherland” which used the hypothesis that Hitler had successfully repelled the D-Day landings, had successfully invaded the UK and Ireland, called a truce with the US and Russia and the movie fast forwarded to what would have been his 75th birthday and a “diplomatic meeting” between him and JFK. Chilling stuff.
The war was won because despite people being mowed down with machine gunfire all around them, brave soldiers kept getting off those rafts, kept pressing on, kept pressing forward, despite the dis-advantage of coming in from the sea and being at a worse vantage point. They soldiered on and got slowly onto the shore, from then they slowly took ground and sent the Germans into a retreat that would end up in Berlin a year later.
I have always been fascinated with the second world war, how a dictator could slowly dupe a nation and marginalize one sector of a community at a time, removing the people that could be problematic, could be a barrier to the parties plans or simply because of their political affiliation, faith they believed, their physical attraction or whatever other reason they had to get rid of you.
I admire the “never say die” spirit of the “British Tommy” and his American counterpart, for the willingness to keep pressing forward, regardless of the opposition. Many of the survivors came broken, physically, mentally and spiritually. If you know someone who went through WW2, please thank them for their service today. For these guys, and it hurts me to say this but time is not on their side so please thank them when you can.
In the past when I have attended services of remembrance, I always seek out those guys, usually dressed in British Legion blazers or civilian attire and showing their medals, that gives a sliver of a window into the debt that we owe them one and all.
It may surprise you my friends to see a Union flag at half-staff in remembrance as I have been recorded online as a fervent Scottish Nationalist in favor of Scottish Independence away from the UK. However this war was fought by my brothers from all over the UK under this flag, the soldiers did not fight for Labour, Liberals or Tories, they fought for their country and gave more than could ever be requested by any Government. Some were called, but many volunteered.
You may also be a Christian and wonder how you should feel about wars, well that is one for you personally to resolve in your own heart. I know many fine Christians who have served in the military, some who support our troops and some who are very “anti-war”. For me it is not a salvation issue so I do not see any fruit in dividing over this.
My prayer is that the soldiers from both sides, also their descendants have found peace through the prince of peace. My prayer is healing in the land that can only come through Jesus. We are promised the following in the bible:
“…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land…” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)
Please spare some thoughts and prayers of our heroes of D-Day, their families and descendants
God bless you one and all