June 6, 1944 is a day most American kids grow up with a healthy respect for. Not just because it comes about a week after Memorial Day each year, but because what happened on that day symbolizes what free people united in the cause of liberty can achieve.
We often find ourselves imagining what it must have been like in the landing craft, as the front gate falls and men loaded down with gear step out into the choppy waters off the Normandy coast. If you’ve every visited the National D- Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia you have an inkling of an idea.
The landings on the beaches of Normandy that day may represent the high water mark for liberty. That free men rose up and hurled themselves at the iron curtain of fascist occupation that gripped Europe at the time is a stirring testament to the individual.
But since that day, that notion has been corrupted by corporate greed and nationalistic fervor. Seventy-one years later we worship the uniform, not the individual. As Americans we export war and death to other countries via our lucrative military industrial complex. That’s the same military industrial complex the man who planned and executed the D-Day invasion warned us about 16 years later as he prepared to turn the White House over to JFK.
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex,” President Eisenhower said. “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
Wiser words were never spoken. !
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