Why D-Days Calls Us to Battle for American Values
D-Day reminds us of both the horrors of combat, and the dangers of apathy.
The War to End All Wars
In 1914, a muddled entanglement of politics and treaties erupted into World War I, a global conflict that lasted until 1918 spanning every ocean and nearly every continent.
Word War I, the sixth deadliest conflict in world history, left 9 million soldiers dead, 21 million wounded, and thousands permanently disfigured and disabled. Civilian casualties numbered close to 10 million, not including the 20 to 50 million killed in the Spanish flu epidemic that spread, in part, due to the conflict.
WWI ushered in the era of modern warfare with weapons of mass destruction and the now discredited use of chemical weapons. Due to its brutality, and the magnitude of the slaughter and destruction, Word War I was considered the “war to end all wars.”
Yet, a mere 21 years later, the world again found itself mired in battle with the start of the second world war. The American people, fatigued from the previous war and disillusioned by its vain political causes, were hesitant to respond to the serious threats posed by the Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Japan. In fact, America nearly acted too late.
America was eventually pulled into the conflict after declaring war on Japan in the aftermath of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
[Peace] is a virtue that springs from force of character.
The High Cost of Defending Freedom
Earlier this year, we commemorated the 75th anniversary of D-Day, which is widely considered to be a key turning point in the European theatre.
Our resident journalist, Dr. David Lee Smith, wrote an excellent article providing more historical context for the D-day invasion. But there are some lessons for us to learn today.
There can be a tendency to romanticize military conquests, but D-day reminds us of the high eternal cost of war. And this in turn should challenge us to seek to live peaceably with others, if at all possible, as we are exhorted to do in Romans 12:28.
Peace is Not the Absence of Conflict, but the Presence of Freedom
Yet, the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. remind us that peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of justice and goodwill. King further adjures us that a peace that comes from good people tolerating evil is, “the type of peace that stinks in the nostrils of the almighty God.”
Apathy Undermines the Quest for Peace
Today, we may be tempted to avoid standing against the problems plaguing our society, especially those that seem beyond our ability to influence or resolve. But we must remember that, regardless of the peace in our own personal lives, there is no real peace while freedom in threatened. Failing to confront the erosion of freedom in our nation can only bring the false peace of escapism.
May we always be people that seek peace. But, may we also be people who pursue the positive good that brings real peace to our nation and preserves our freedom. In doing so, we will find the inner peace that comes from courageously standing for what is right and good.
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Let us not embark on an appeasement strategy like British Prime Minister Chamberlain did in the lead up to WWII. Those who boldly step forward and contend for true peace will resist the urge to sit passively tending wounds from past battles.
It seems a revision of Sir Winston Churchill’s famous statement is in order for us today. We are being given the choice to between standing for freedom and dishonor. If we choose complacency and dishonor, we will not have peace, but we will only have the loss of our freedoms to accompany our dishonor.
Apathy will not bring peace in our lives, or in our nation. It will only bring the erosion of our national values and the loss of freedom. Oh, and, of course, it will also bring personal dishonor.
Read, A Positively Peaceful Way to a Better America, by Dr. David Lee Smith for more on D-Day, and how American Values Investments can offer a better, more peaceful way to effect change.