|The Death of Captain Miller in Saving Private Ryan|
Today marks the 72nd year the allies stormed the beaches of Normandy in the name of freedom. At the end of the movie Saving Private Ryan, Tom Hanks’ character (Captain John Miller) tells Private Ryan (played by Matt Damon) to ‘earn this’ before he perishes. It was quite an emotional scene charging Ryan to carry a tremendous load in the decades that followed his life. But carry he did, and because of Captain Miller and his battalion’s sacrifice to find and save Private Ryan, generations of Ryans would flourish. I think of the depth of that sacrifice, and the letting go of what could have been. My own grandfather (deceased since 1968) was the only survivor of his battalion in World War One at Vimy Ridge. And I often wonder if he felt any guilt at being the last man standing. I certainly hope not or I wouldn’t be here now. Thank you, Grandpa.
My mother managed to survive World War Two while living in Hertfordshire, England. The war started when she was ten, and ended five years later in her mid-teens. Some of her stories have brought tears to my eyes, and her own just by remembering certain events and incidents. One such time, mom was telling me about when the Germans invaded France, and scores of British men and women raced across the English Channel to rescue as many French people as they could in whatever boats they owned. Another memory is simpler, yet so profound. Mom wanted to go to the movie theatre with her friend to see Bambi, but my grandmother told her no for some reason. The same movie theatre got bombed that day with many casualties, including my mom’s friend. Thank you, Grandma.
Many times my mother would go to school, and there would be empty seats where students once sat. Back then, there was no grief counselling, so the children would have to ‘deal with it’ as my mother would say, and move on. Bomb shelters were a part of life, but my grandmother tried to make a game of it for her three daughters to ease their fears. That horrific war certainly brought out the resilience and stamina in people, as they had to live their lives as normally as possible.
The next book in my young adult time travel series called The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret will take place during World War Two. Fittingly, it will be released October 17th, less than a month before Remembrance Day (November 11th). During my research, I learned a lot about what the people of that era endured and how they coped in such adversity. It was so humbling to read what the survivors had to do to keep moving forward with purpose, and to be as resilient as possible. I want to express my eternal gratitude to ALL the veterans of ALL the wars for keeping the peace, giving us our freedom, and making the world a safer place to live. Although evil still slithers around the globe and makes its ugly presence known from time-to-time, I truly believe that good people will always out-weigh the bad people. If you don’t agree, take it from somebody who’s been there:
In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. ~ Anne Frank
This D-Day, don’t forget to thank or hug a veteran. They’ve certainly earned it.