Okay - today isn't D-day - that happened yesterday, 69 years ago. But I wanted to mention how there was just a small blurb in the local paper about it, which is very disappointing. Since my father was part of that whole activity, I'd like to honor him an all the others who have served our country and preserved the freedoms of others over the years. I'd also like to point out that as writers, its an opportunity for us to help people remember things.
The original story tellers told stories to help the children remember history or family lines. They didn't have books or writing materials. A lot of them didn't know how to write unless they were wealthy up until the last century or so. Our country has been blessed with technology and ability to remember and learn from the past. Unfortunately, I'm not sure we get it.
I also remember when there was a small commemoration for 9/11 and someone was complaining that it was five years ago, weren't we going to let go and move on? My first thought was does letting go mean we forget? Because most people have already forgotten Pearl Harbor. 9/11 is just another step away.
I feel that forgetting what we've accomplished or the actions that were taken by our forefathers makes us less. When we forget what was done for us by those who gave so much, we lessen that sacrifice. My father was part of the initial beach invasion that they show in the movie Saving Private Ryan. He was a Ranger in the 2nd battalion. He received a medal because he and another member of his unit were trapped on the beach without any guns. They managed to scrounge up a large gun, but the bullets they had didn't fit. So down on the beach, my dad created bullets to fit the gun so they could get men onto the beach. It amazes me every time I hear the story. Talk about determination and grit!
When you hear the stories of these men and their brave acts, doesn't it make you ashamed when you complain about your day? When you gripe because your computer is slow, your email won't come up, or you have to drive to the store because you ran out of milk? Granted, we have stress in our lives, and I don't discount that. Our stress is totally different from what our parents and grand parents went through. We all have the lives we lead.
But when you think about what these people did to make it possible for others to be free, including yourself, does it make you cherish your life a little more? Want to tell your loved ones how much you love them and not wait till a special moment? Give hugs a little more frequently and remember to visit the graves on memorial day?
Personally, I want to make my dad proud of me. I haven't had him in my life since I was 7. He was a big man, strong and I knew he loved me. I still miss him. I keep hoping that my writing is something he'd be proud of, as well as my other talents. Perhaps even, or more importantly, my family.
But I also think that he is an inspiration to me. When I think of him and his determination to get the men safely up the beach, how can I so easily become discouraged in my writing or anything else? I picture him on a beach like the one in the movie, with gun fire, people dying all around, and he's refitting bullets. Amazing.
So...this weekend as we start the summer months, take the opportunity to reconnect with your roots. Your family, yourself. We write from what we know best. So, get to know it.
And never forget.