Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day. World War II has been on my mind a lot lately— mostly due to the abysmal two days Jeffrey’s middle school spent on it, and my sudden all-encompassing desire to both throttle the teacher, and to find a way to successfully augment his education. There are a lot of things I’m lackadaisical about, but World War II history is not one of them. It was a rubicon of modern life, a critical hourglass-like juncture; there is Before, and there is After. Too many of us are ignorant of our history, of the foundations of the societies in which we live. This makes us poorer citizens.
What I’ve settled on is Ken Burns’ documentary “The War”. It’s streaming on Amazon, and worth every minute. Like all of Burns’ films, it’s a deep and relational history, covered with real footage, photographs, letters, newsreels and personal stories. Highly recommended for anyone wishing to have more than a passing glimmer of American and world history.
My grandfather, John Beadle McKay, was there on the blood soaked beaches of Normandy, on this day in June of 1944. I usually needn’t say anything beyond that to for most people to understand important things about his life. That is a testament to knowing history.
As this generation passes from the world— as all of my own grandparents now have— it’s even more important that we not forget what happened, that we not forget their histories, their stories, and their sacrifices. When we know our own history, it helps us all be better people, and gives us a context and reference for the blessings and freedom in which we live our lives. That applies to each of us- whether we’re from the heartland of America, the cities, villages and mountains of Europe, or the atolls and islands in the South Pacific. Take a moment today to pause, reflect, and give thanks.