Today is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.
I have had the honor of visiting the American Cemetery in Normandy. I've been looking for my old photo albums to dig up a pic for you, but so far I haven't found them. If I do I'll update with a photo. If you saw the movie Saving Private Ryan, you saw the cemetery in the opening scene. It is one of the few cemeteries that I have visited that I found to be some how majestic. It's as if the graves themselves are a monument to the men in them. If a graveyard can be a place that inspires pride in ones country, the one America dug for her soldiers overlooking the D-Day beaches does.
That statement will strike some as purely sentimental patriotic nonsense. It has been a quarter of a century since I was in Normandy. I still remember that feeling from my visit. Perhaps its just a silly emotional reaction. I don't know. That is the way I remember feeling that day.
I saw this story about a man who was the first out of his landing craft on D-Day. He carried no weapons. He was there to fight a different battle. He wasn't a medic. He was a Chaplin. He started the day by conducting services for the men aboard eleven of the ships waiting for the invasion. Then he was the first off his LC when they hit the beach under fire. He ran, dodging bullets to the sides of wounded men and prayed with them.
No mega church pastor can say that. George Barber knew what it was to be a minister. Col Barber called his unseen fortitude under fire faith. He also had a fair amount of guts.