Friday, July 04, 2008

A Day at the Beach

Today we will blithely jump in the pool. We might barbecue something. Many of us will avoid the heat, stay indoors and watch the 4th of Joly festivities from the national mall on PBS. Some of us will actually go out and watch the local community fireworks; we will be doing that tonight. A few songs of patriotic note, a lot of explosions, and smoke. Lots of smoke.

Then we will all pile back in the car, drive home, and go to bed, content that tomorrow will hold little risk of our lives, minimal danger, and we will wake up in a free country. Tomorrow, we might even go to the beach. What the heck, its a long weekend!

The beach. For me the beach has always been a special place, a place of rest, of rejuvenation. There is something about the sea, the sand, the salt air, and the company of friends. To me, the beach means peace, sunsets, laughter, good conversation, and fun. A boundary between land and sea. For us in California, the beach is the edge of a continent, a stepping off point to distant lands.

In June of 1944, 64 years ago, a day at the beach meant something entirely different for those men who participated in the landing at Normandy. Peggy Noonan has rightly chosen this 4th of July to remind us of a completely different Day at the Beach.

Thank you, Ms. Noonan for remembering these remarkably brave men.

Tonight, when the fireworks fly at the football field in town, my eyes, as always, will fill with tears. I will be remembering the men of Omaha Beach, my Dad who flew in the South Pacific, and those of our country who serve now in dangerous places, all over the world.

I owe my freedom to them all.
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