Sixty-five years ago is poignant in my family history for two young men I am related to were ashore this day in June of 1944.
One I got to know to some extent before his passing away this year, this was my step-grandfather. Unlike my father, I was never exposed to his nightmares of being locked again in hand to hand combat as he fought across Europe. Nor did he ever tell me any stories of that time. In hindsight part of me wished I had asked him while a greater part, reflecting on those nightmares, is thankful I never caused him hurt by asking.
Gus I never got to know. While my father was a mere lad during World War II, Gus was a cousin of my grandfather's generation. He too went ashore at D-Day and fought across that continent. Save giving my father a Mauser bayonet when he returned, I know nothing of Gus for he died barely a decade later safe at home and long before I was born. War could not take Gus, but peacetime did.
Now it is 2009 and almost all those brave men who waded ashore on the 6th of June have gone on to final muster. Lets never forget their valor or sacrifice, instead let us dedicate ourselves to living lives worthy of these men's sacrifice.