Monday, May 26, 2008

Remembering the Fallen

The Rhino was asked to write a report about an important date in history. He chose D-Day, June 6, 1944.

I learned some things I didn't know while he was working on his assignment. For instance, according to the Rhino, Rommel wasn't there when the Allies flooded the beaches of Normandy because he was home with his wife, celebrating her birthday. Instead, a lesser-known commander than the "Desert Fox"--lesser-known and less capable--took control, and that may have helped the Allies reach the enemy strongholds.

I also learned that we lost 10, 000 men that day in Normandy. The Axis lost only about 4000, but we still considered it a victory because of the ground we had gained. And because we had 800,000 soldiers committed to the mission (the largest naval attack for that time), I guess 10,000 seemed like an acceptable amount to the strategists who planned the mission.

So, altogether, about 14,000 men died on that one, brief day.

They didn't ask to be remembered as heroes. They were soldiers, and so they did what needed to be done, what they were told their country needed them to do, because they believed it was their duty to serve their country.

And because every single mission brought you that much closer to the trip home.

Today, Memorial Day, at 3:00, our country will offer a moment of silence in remembrance of all the men and women who who never made that trip back home.

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