Reflections from a Visit to Normandy

By Grant Coates "To these we owe the high resolve, that the cause for which they died shall live.” –  Inscribed on the memorial at the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit the hallowed beaches of Normandy: Utah, Omaha and Pointe du Hoc. Pointe du Hoc is a raised mass of land and serves as the highest point between Utah Beach to the west and Omaha Beach to the east. On June 6, 1944, during WWII, brave soldiers from the United States stormed these beaches, captured Pointe du Hoc, and forever changed the course of America.

Prior to the American invasion, Allied Supreme Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower addressed his men and said, “You are about to embark upon the great crusade toward which we have striven these many months.” On that day, the greatest amphibian invasion in our nation’s history signaled the beginning of the end for our enemy, and also shaped our nation’s future for generations. As I walked this land a week ago, I reflected on the great sacrifice that these men made to defend freedom and liberty. Every step was sobering, and every second I was thankful.

On the 70th anniversary of D-Day, I feel fortunate that I was able to walk that sacred land and honor the brave men for whom I am eternally grateful. The following quote seems an appropriate remembrance of this day, and an accurate reflection of my sentiments about those D-Day soldiers:

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” –   Winston Churchill