On this date 75 years ago a dramatic assault by Allied troops against the Nazi regime was undertaken with the invasion of Normandy beaches. This event has been often retold in books and movies. Stephen Ambrose’s book on D-Day, the book and movie series Band of Brothers, the movie Saving Private Ryan have all retold the story of that dramatic day and have all heralded both the heroism and massive losses.
Yet it was still war and war wounds not only bodies but minds and spirits. People by and large don’t like to be reminded of the suffering men and women endure in the name of serving one’s country in battle. We prefer the Hollywood versions were there is victory and rousing welcomes home. We don’t like to be reminded of the depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicides that result from the horrible burden of war.
And now the news tells us that the government sabers are rattling, even as we are still embroiled in destructive other wars. Yes, we are more aware of PTSD. Yes we are keeping count of 22 daily veteran suicides. Yet we still turn to war and violence as solutions.
I want to share with you the testimony of actor Charles Durning, a marvelous man of talent whom I especially enjoyed in Tootsie and in True Confessions. He also was a veteran of the Normandy invasion. His testimony speaks to the scars men and women must endure. You can see the anguish on his face and hear it in his voice.
We as a people must stand against war to protect our sons and daughters from carrying such wounds for the rest of their lives. May the courage and suffering of D-Day remind us that, finally, enough is enough. War no more!
Dear Rich, thank you for this reflection today on D-Day. I very much appreciate your thoughts and reflections. I incorporated some of your thoughts on Memorial Day into our Sunday Mass here at the retreat house, and I hope to do the same this weekend. I am reading a chapter in Sr. Sandra Schneiders’ book: “Jesus Risen in Our Midst: Essays on the Resurrection of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel.” In Chapter 5 she makes a connection to our mission as “disciples of Christ” of being persons of forgiveness and reconciliation as a way to de-escalate the violence in our human family. Her understanding of John 20: 23 speaks to this. She sees us called to “hold the human family together” through forgiveness, and in this work we will likely suffer like Jesus. I hope to bring out this theme as we hear this Gospel this weekend for Pentecost. It is a fuller understanding of the meaning of this text. Peace to you, Rich.