When I was 9, my parents called me in from playing outside on a hot San Jose night to watch the men land on the moon.
I sat and watched them land….and then jump out of the LEM…and walk on the moon.
I watched Neil Armstrong make his “one giant leap” comment.
I watched all this with as much amazement as a 9-year-old could sustain….and then I got outside again as fast as I could to run and throw dirt clods.
I knew it was a big deal, even then…but I had work to do outside.
I had a life.
Last night…and most of the day….I listened to or watched shows commemorating the D-Day invasion.
This year marked 70 years since our armed forces landed on the beaches of France to battle the Nazis.
I can’t relate to that, really.
I was 15 when the Vietnam War ended, and coming out of the Vietnam War period, the military wasn’t a popular option as a career for a young man, so I never even thought about serving my country.
I never served…or was asked to serve.
How could I relate to what these men had experienced?
Watching the shows last night, though, I related.
Watching these older fellows talk about their experiences made me miss my own father.
They were so straight forward and just seemed like good people.
Of course, they were the ones they let on TV.
But they all seemed like good guys.
They made me wish that I was up in Washington at the Memorial…having a good visit and shaking some hands….thanking them for their service.
I don’t have a real connection to what these men did during D-Day….because I don’t have to have a connection.
It’s like when a parent always fills your needs…and you never have to understand what any of the things they did to make that happen cost them.
You just know that your needs are filled…and that’s as far as it needs to go.
That’s as far as you take it.
“Gratitude” takes too much time, sometimes….especially when you want to do the adult equivalent of running outside to throw dirt clods.
Watching these men made me realize that I’m not required to understand what they did…because they were successful at “what they did”.
I can take it for granted because I’m still free…and can take it for granted.
“Sacrifice” on that scale isn’t on my radar.
I doubt that many of these men who fought for us will still be with us when the next anniversary of D-Day comes around.
They were in their 20’s when they were at war….they’re in their 90’s now.
I doubt that many will still be here next time we honor what they did.
I’m glad I paid attention to them…at least for a little while.
I still can’t relate to what they did.
None of it is close to anything that I’ve ever experienced.
I should thank them for that if I ever get the chance.
“Let Them In” David Wilcox