The Greatest Generation ... and what a generation they all are! Friday evening, June 5th, flipping through the television channels trying to find something decent to watch, I came across the beginning of "Saving Private Ryan". Like many times before I decided to watch it, trying to imagine my Dad 65 years later, walking across the green grass of the American cemetery in Normandy, France like "Ryan" did in the movie. I wondered what Dad would have thought today looking out into the calm of the English Channel at 85 years of age. Would he still see the burning LCI 92 he was on that never made it in ... his comrades laying on Omaha dead, wounded and screaming out for help ... the clear waters of the Channel today instead of the bloody waters he witnessed at 19. Would he feel peace today as opposed to hatred and war ... smell clean air over smoke, fire and death. These questions and more were racing through my mind as I watched the beginning of this movie. For now, my questions will remain unanswered because he has been gone for over 7 years now but my instincts tell me that it would all come flooding back to him as it did to those veterans who returned to Normandy for the 65th anniversary of D-Day.
Today I sit in deep thought as I review in my mind the "celebrations" seen on the news this past Saturday, June 6th. Seeing the raw emotions on the faces of those veterans that made the journey back to Omaha Beach... listening to their stories as tears streamed down their faces... watching them point to the exact spot on the beach in which they came ashore was overwhelming to say the least. Seeing these frail men today standing tall, or in some cases sitting, saluting our American flag with the same courage, admiration and love of country they had 65 years ago.. their convictions still just as strong today, was amazing to watch. I am in awe of the legacy the "Greatest Generation" has left us and am proud to be the daughter of one of it's "members". Just as my Dad made a commitment to honor, serve and protect this great country of ours, I vow to keep his memory alive for my children and grand children - they will always know the veteran side of Grandpa! As for my Dad .. my hero ~I will always miss him but he lives on within me in what I do, how I treat others, how I face life's challenges and being one of the co-founders of Heavens Heroes as we support today's troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, or where ever they happen to be deployed--it's the right thing to do and I know Dad would be proud of the work we do.
God bless our veterans... past, present and future!