Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The day we stopped "pretending in Paris": Normandy

It was hard to balance the excitement of being in France on such a beautiful day with some of my favorite people in the world, with the heartache that grabbed me the minute my eyes scrolled over the rows and rows of graves at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.

I'm Mary, Amy's paparazzi sister, and the day we spent here gave me a much needed reminder that I am proud to be an American. The amazing historical tale of what happened on June 6, 1944 is so complex and unbelievable that I will have to leave that up to my veteran husband for another time, as I would not do it justice. But I will share with you that as we walked through the 9,387 headstones I found the crosses for the unknown solider most thought provoking. What would that be like...if it were my father or husband or son or brother whose remains were never clearly identified and their sacrifice was marked with a cross like the one above? I wonder if it is less consoling or if it provides less closure for the families who mourn these kind of losses. I certainly have no answer for that, but here is what I hope.

I hope that the mothers and wives and children and sisters to these fallen "comrades in arms" see the last line on the cross as the one that matters. We may not know the exact path they took that day toward the beach, the horrific sights that unfolded around them or the friend they saw die next to them. But God knows. He watched as they unloaded out of the boats and courageously stormed not only the beach but also their fate. He watched as their families were at home thousands of miles away-safe, but scared. He watched as they paved a path with their bodies that others might follow behind them and succeed in restoring freedom to a foreign nation. He knows. I hope the families of these heroes find peace and victory in the truth of those crosses..."known but to God."

I am proud to be counted among a people of such merit; to be a citizen of a nation that was founded on the freedom to worship the God Who Knows. I am grateful that I live in a country where there are still soldiers who believe so strongly in freedom that they lay down their lives on foreign soil to ensure it. I am humbled by their devotion to protect and defend a stranger's life and I am grateful to serve a God who knows that every sacrifice is significant, whether their names are engraved on a tombstone or not. I am proud to be an American.




melissa said...

oh so true, so true. i know that even though so many of those tombstones say the exact same thing, to God every one is different. and every story is different. and really, every single one of us could have the same thing written about us. truly, we are each only truly "known by God". thanks for such a profound reminder.

Liz Barnett said...

Well put Mary! :)

ntignor said...

I couldn't have said it better - Thanks!

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