How about the Longest Day? I visited Normandy cemetery the week after Uncle Dave, our last patriarch, died. I saw a statue of a man leaping into the air and knew his name was (Spirit of American) “Youth”. I looked at the names of all the missing in action, and thought of their mothers pining for their return the rest of their days, and I started to cry. When the music played America the beautiful I thought of its third verse:
…..“Oh, beautiful, for heroes proved in liberating strife;
…..who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life.
…..America, America, May God thy gold refine
…..till all success be nobleness and every gain divine”
I cried a lot and was just holding in chest heaving sobs when the Australian we were traveling with came up and asked if I was okay. The Americans sneered at me and asked when we were leaving for lunch. On the beach I looked at the nearly vertical and completely unprotected cliffs which the D-Day soldiers climbed under Nazi machine gun fire, and marveled at the valor of “ordinary” men like Harry, Albert, Dave and Eddie Davison…
My sister and I both are vets. I spend Veteran’s day remembering and watch movies of steel chopping men to sausage meat for no apparent win to remember men’s sacrifice and the horror of such an undertaking.