Sixty-five years ago, this message was handed to the tens of thousands of men at various marshalling points throughout England:
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.
In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.
But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men.
The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!
I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!
Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
SIGNED: Dwight D. Eisenhower
My grandfather was one of the men that boarded a transport ship, sailed across the English channel and stormed the beach at Normandy with his brothers-in-arms. The night before, thousands of paratroopers dropped inland to open the way from the beaches into the countryside.
My grandfather survived that day. He lived to fight throughout the coming months. He was wounded in the Battle of Bulge but survived to live another forty years – and I am here because of that! My grandfather is a hero to me because he “did a job that needed doing” and didn’t think of himself first.
They all were individuals who fought together as a whole and attained the victory that saved the world from tyranny and unspeakable violence against the innocent.
Their legacy is that we are here today. Those of us who live in free societies have a responsibility to carry on the work of freedom.
This is no less so for those who are members of the Church. As followers of Jesus we are saved as individuals. Jesus died for each one of us. He loves each one of us.
But we also work together in the Church to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to a world enslaved in the tyranny of sin.
As we remember D-Day, let us learn from my grandfather’s, and all the grandfathers who fought and died that day, example of self-sacrifice. Let us “do the job that needs doing” and fight against evil with the Good News of Jesus Christ.