06 June 2009

The Longest Day - Remembering Those Who Fought

Sixty-five years ago the Allied forces launched the largest amphibious single-day invasion in history. By air, by sea, and by land the Allies approached the shores of Normandy in a risky but important endeavor to beat back the Nazi army. While the invasion was costly with approximately 10,000 Allied casualties (wounded, captured, killed) and up to 9,000 German casualties, it proved to be the beginning of the end for the Nazi regime and for World War II. The Allies fought for freedom and family. They fought for God.

In the Book of Mormon, the great military and church leader Moroni faced similar attacks - from within and without his people - on freedom. He decided he needed to rally his people to fight for their freedoms.
"And it came to pass that [Moroni] rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole. And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land—For thus were all the true believers of Christ, who belonged to the church of God, called by those who did not belong to the church. And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come. And therefore, at this time, Moroni prayed that the cause of the Christians, and the freedom of the land might be favored" (Alma 46:12-16; emphasis added).
Just as Captain Moroni invoked the blessings of God on his people in their cause, in their fight for God, religion, freedom, families, and ultimately peace, so did the Allied forces invoke the power of the Almighty on their battles. Gen. Eisenhower, the commander of the Allied forces, sent out these words to the troops before their invasion.
"Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

"Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, he will fight savagely.

"But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory!

"I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!

"Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking" (Source).
I am grateful for the God-given liberties and freedoms we enjoy. I am grateful for those who fought to protect our freedoms. I am grateful for those who sacrificed their lives in the fight for freedom. What a price they paid! I pray that we will always remember the Source of our freedoms and honor Him in righteousness.

Please take the time to view portions of Rob Gardner's The Price of Freedom, a musical production honoring those who sacrificed so much during World War II. You can watch close to an hour of the production online by visiting this page or the YouTube priceoffreedommusic channel. I've embedded two clips from the musical - one about D-Day as well as a preview ("trailer") video.

1 comment:

Kristi said...

Thank you for this fitting reminder of such a pivotal day in history.


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