Memorial Day: Remembering D-Day; Can We Save Private Ryan?

American Cemetery. Cimetière Américain de Colleville-sur-mer 3Just back from visiting the American Cemetery in France (Cimetière Américain de Colleville-sur-mer), where 9,387 American soldiers are buried American Cemetery. Cimetière Américain de Colleville-sur-mer(which is only a fraction of the 200,000 Allied casualties,
including 50,000 killed during the D-day attack), American Cemetery for those killed during D-Day in NormandyAlan and I have been feeling very sober this weekend. In America it’s our “Memorial Day” to commemorate those who’ve died to serve our country. American Cemetery. Cimetière Américain de Colleville-sur-mer 5The sacrifice of so many valiant soldiers to keep our world from being dominated by Hitler during World War 2 in particular is something that will always command my deepest respect and appreciation. Normandy BeachWe spent several days on our recent trip to France visiting the sites and reading the stories and memorials in Normandy, and the more I studied, the more deeply I felt a hatred for war and all the devastation that evil men bring upon mankind.Etretat church de Notre Dame with cemetery in the backyard, Seine-Maritime, Normandy, FranceIt was in this frame of mind that Alan and I watched
Saving Private Ryan last night. Saving Private Ryan DVDThe movie is carefully researched historical fiction, based only loosely on the story of the four American Niland brothers who all fought in World War 2. Saving Private RyanAlthough it came out 18 years ago, we previously avoided it because of its R-rating (for terrible violence and language),
and I can’t say that I would recommend it even now (for those reasons),

D-Day Attackbut after studying hundreds of photographs and descriptions of what really happened during the Normandy Beachhead and in the days following, I believe the movie gives a pretty clear picture of the unspeakable awfulness of war. D-Day Quote by RangerSaving Private Ryan tells the story of 8 rangers who help with the first successful breakthrough during the Normandy Beachhead and are then sent on an expedition to find Private Ryan and return him home, since all three of his brothers have been killed already.American Cemetery. Cimetière Américain de Colleville-sur-mer Statistics of deathsThe movie was so accurate in its graphic depictions that some war vets had PTSD symptoms from watching it. The horrors of war and the traumatic memories of those who fought are burdens they will carry throughout their lifetimes, and I’m sure that is true of every person who’s been involved in war. Cemetery at Notre Dame in EtratatI know we can’t do anything about the past, but can we commit ourselves from this day forward to attempting to save all the “Private Ryans” in our world by doing everything in our power to avoid evil and war?Memorial near Notre Dame Church in EtratatI believe that if people would take to heart and follow the advice on this memorial perched just outside the Notre Dame Church in Etretat, there would be an end to war: “Love God and follow his ways.”

But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Joshua 22:5).  Pine trees weeping at American Cemetery in Normandy France(The photos [except for the two posters for Saving Private Ryan] were all taken in France a couple of weeks ago. It was rainy, and it seemed to me that the whole world is still weeping over this tragic war.)