To The Daily Sun,
Last month, my husband and I had the remarkable opportunity to visit Omaha Beach two days after the 70th anniversary of the Normandy invasion. This was actually our second time there.
Nothing prepares you for the overwhelming impact of the American cemetery. Walking amid the endless rows of white headstones, understanding that despite the fact that nearly 11,000 bodies were brought home, there are nearly 9,000 graves at that site. The loss is unimaginable.
We had traveled there with over 100 of our shipmates. Despite our gender, ethnic, religious, political difference, we were all Americans. At a brief ceremony, we faced the flag and the national anthem was played. We then proceed to the beach itself. Walking out to the water, I turned and faced the cliffs, wondering how my dad felt when he stood here. These incredible men and women faced death in the eye defending our freedom as Americans.
One of our group was an 88-year-old veteran, Owen Mahony, who piloted an LST on D-Day. He shared his experiences and gave us his first-hand insight. On the way back to our ship, he asked us to pray for peace and understanding — both in our country and internationally. He wanted us to pray for dialogue and cooperation to unify our country.
Our country is faced with an almost insurmountable complexity of crises — both internal and international. I would like to point out that, excluding Native Americans, we are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants. I would like to think that we are still a compassionate nation.
As a liberal — yup — I said liberal, I find it difficult that I could find common ground with someone who is terrified to come in contact with a potentially "diseased" child who might show up in Maryland, or someone who is furious with a government who is taking away their "God-given" rights. But, perhaps, Owen is right and I should start looking for ways to bridge the gap. Maybe we, as Americans, should cut the crap and stop screaming at each other and start listening to one another.
June M. Huot
- Category: Letters
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