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D-Day 75th Anniversary

    

Published 2019-06-07


 

 D Day


D-Day 75th Anniversary

Because I was born 16 years after WWII ended, I grew up with lots of stories of the war. I knew dozens of men who had been in the military. My mom talked about rationing and community drives to support the war effort when she was a kid.  My grandmother went back to teaching high school math in Slater, MO, because the male teacher had been killed in action overseas. But because it all happened before I was born, it seemed surreal to me.  My impressions were shaped mostly by Hollywood war movies. 

But my main memory of D-Day is from a Jr High Sunday School class in the mid ‘70’s.  Our teacher was a guy named Jack.  Jack wasn’t the least bit scared of talking about the Bible with teenagers.  In fact he loved to talk to anybody about anything.  He laughed and told stories.  And sometimes if we boys tried, we could get him to talk about the war.  Jack’s stories seemed straight out of the war movies.  He had lied about his age to enlist at 17. He was so gung ho and hopped up on patriotism and teenage idealism he said, “I didn’t realize they would be shooting back at me until we hit the beach at Normandy.”

Just once while telling these stories did he grow unusually silent.  He just stopped midsentence and looked down at the floor, pulled out his wallet, and passed around two black and white photographs and an official looking paper that I couldn’t make out because it was in German. The photos were of a young man in a uniform and a young woman about the same age.

We looked up at Jack confused.  He said with breaking voice, “I killed this man.  This must have been his wife or girlfriend…,” and his voice trailed off. He blew his nose, put the things back in his wallet, and somehow we went on.

I have never forgotten that, because it finally hit me that the ones who died in the war had been real people with real lives and loves. And those heroic enough or just lucky enough to survive had to carry the painful memories for the rest of their lives. 

What Jack taught us that day was one of the most powerful lessons I ever learned in Sunday School.

 

 

 


 

 




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