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D-Day, History and Memory

Sixty-Nine years since D-Day.  In the first law firm I worked for in 1982 the Senior Partner had lost a son on Omaha Beach.  The man I was replacing had just been made a Judge, and still walked with a limp from being shot up on Omaha Beach.  Another partner had been with the Eighth Air Force in England, helping to plot flight missions in support of D-Day.  This was in a five man firm, including myself.  D-Day left its mark on this nation, with its approximately 3,000 dead and 6000 wounded Americans, but with the passage of time it has become relegated to the history books as those who lived the longest day depart from the scene.

Color film of the D-Day landings reminds us of the limitations of the historical record in conveying the reality of any historical event to those who did not experience it.  Soon World War II will depart living memory and what Eisenhower called the Crusade in Europe will be the province only of the historians.  Inevitable, but sad to those of us who recall the men and women who lived through these years, who spoke with them and felt some fragment of the passions of those times.  Time is a river and it bears us all away, along with our memories and the passions of our life.   The best memorial to our veterans who helped save the world from monstrous tyranny is to live our lives in such a way that we can rightly say, in the words of Lincoln, that these dead shall not have died in vain.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

2 Comments

  1. Let me tell you. The man stood before me and raised his tee shirt. There was a scar from his neck to below his belt. He turned around and there was a scar from his neck to below his belt. He told me that the shell had gone right through his body. Here he was telling me that he had been there on D Day. The man was the personification of courage and determination. He gave me to know that he would do it all over again.

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