|American soldiers heading to Omaha Beach in Normandy, 70 years ago.|
Other Allied forces, mainly Brits, lost 1,914 dead. They were part of 156,000 Allied troops who on D-Day crossed the English Channel to invade France and help defeat Germany in WWII. The Germans lost from 4,000 to 10,000 men.
I was five exactly five months old, home snug and safe and free in my crib in Dallas, Texas.
|American and French flags honor each grave.|
These men died and served to spare me the fate of much of the world which believed that all people should think alike, that free thought and expression are dangerous, that people are supposed to be subservient, that individuality and differences in beliefs, religions, races, languages is suspicious and should be squelched by force, that the might of military makes anything right, that individuals have no rights.
What frightens me is not that tyrants in other parts of the world still believe this.
|The flag in the cemetery|
What frightens and disgusts me are the fanatics in America who still believe those ways. You can easily find specific recent examples of each of those intolerant beliefs, echoed in the rhetoric by narrow-minded ideologues in our own state government, national government, political movements and media. They have invaded America by spouting thinly-designed hatred and mindless propaganda, threatening this country built on reason and respect of others. Yes, they are free to do so because of the sacrifice of those Americans 70 years ago, but they are not worthy of the mud on our soldiers' boots.
If D-Day means anything to us as a free people, we will respect the rights of others who differ from us, encourage free thought and expression. Our vows should be written in the blood of those men who served on that day, 70 years ago.