|Posted by Site Admin on November 11, 2014 at 8:55 AM|
When I was in college, about a half dozen of my friends got together late one night to watch a movie. It was a pretty common thing for us to do, but what was different about this night was our reaction to the film we were watching. Usually when we watched movies, we watched comedies and laughed ourselves to tears. But on this night we chose to watch a "War" movie that none of us had seen up until that point.
On that night we sat and watched Steven Spielberg’s 1998 film Saving Private Ryan, starring Tom Hanks and Matt Damon. And if you’ve seen that before, you know that the film’s first thirty minutes or so consist of a reenactment of the D-Day invasion in June of 1944.
And while very bloody and graphic, the opening of the film pictures the Allied boats approaching the shore of France—hundreds of foot-soldiers sailing right into the teeth of heavy enemy fire on the beach. Just think about that: 18, 19, and 20-year-old young men huddled in those boats--cold and terrified--and some of them never having been in combat before. All of them were aware that this could be their last day on earth. For many, that was precisely the case.
When they reach the shore and those metal plates from the boats come down, allowing them to disembark, immediately from several yards away, the German machine gun fire opens up on them. History tells us that 90% of the first company was killed within two minutes. 90%...let that number sink in.
Then let this sink in: the troops just kept coming. All told, approximately 73,000 American troops participated in the bloody battle. They were wounded and they died by the thousands.
But those men did not die in order for America to have more territory, nor to gain wealth for their country. No, they acted sacrificially and bravely to preserve the freedom of the world that at the time was being threatened by the insane policies of Adolf Hitler. It was a monumentally courageous moment.
My friends and I watched those first thirty minutes or so, seeing this historic battle reenacted, and when it was over, we sat in stunned silence. You could hear a pin drop, because each of us had just been given a renewed appreciation for the horrendous price that had been paid on our behalf, and on behalf of the world.
For the umpteenth time, we were reminded that freedom is never free.
This Veterans Day, be sure to thank God for the sacrifice of men and women that have worn the uniform to represent this country. And please, be sure to thank a veteran for their service, for their sacrifice, and for our freedom.