Chimes of Freedom on Foreign Shores

I had the privilege of being in France yesterday as the country observed the 80th anniversary of the Normandy invasion on D-Day. It was a sobering and inspiring experience.

If you’ve seen the coverage on TV, you know that many world leaders were on hand, represented at ceremonies at Normandy and elsewhere: President Biden, French President Emanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Britain’s King Charles III, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky among them. Even Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks of Saving Private Ryan fame were there.

I wasn’t at the Normandy ceremony yesterday but was near Lyon in Eastern France. What I found truly inspiring were the “regular” people all around me—shopkeepers, Uber drivers, people on the streets. The entire country of France seemed to fully embrace the historical impact of the Allied effort 80 years ago. Canons rang out every few minutes yesterday morning. There was an air of collective gratitude that was incredibly meaningful, as people seemed to still recognize the importance of freedom and liberation.

That freedom came at an enormous cost, of course. So many young soldiers never came home. They made the ultimate sacrifice in the effort to push back the Nazi occupation. It was encouraging to see their memory honored yesterday.

There were survivors, too, and some of them are still with us. The average age of D-Day survivors is now 100 years old. About 150 U.S. veterans were able to travel to France for yesterday’s ceremonies. And veterans from other countries were on hand, as well. One of them, Christian Lamb, was a member of Britain’s Women’s Royal Naval Service who helped plan the D-Day invasion in Churchill’s London bunkers. She’s 103 now, and yesterday she was awarded the Légion d’Honneur medal by President Macron.

Those who fought and sacrificed so much deserve every ounce of our gratitude and respect. They risked their lives and, in many cases, gave their lives in the defense of freedom. The right to be free, to think and express the ideas we believe to be true, is the cornerstone of Western civilization. Those freedoms feel like they are eroding. Let’s pray we humble ourselves as a nation, turn to God, and repent from our sins.

Our world would look very different today, and not in a good way, if the brave men and women of D-Day had not answered the call. May freedom continue to ring in their honor.

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