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One Photo: One Story; Memorial Day

One Photo: One Story; Memorial Day Weekend

You have a lot of time to think while you’re waiting in traffic. Traffic headed to the Jersey shore on this Memorial Day Friday was heavy. I wasn’t headed there, I was just trying to get home.

It’s Memorial Day weekend. The first weekend of summer is very welcome following a long cold winter. The mad dash to the beach is a time to reconnect with family and take a rest from our daily jobs.

The very nature of the weekend cannot be lost on our quest for leisure or day at the beach.

Memorial Day, A day for remembering and honoring people who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

As I thought about all of the beach travelers and their weekend of fun, I was reminded of the upcoming 75th anniversary of D-Day. June 6, 1944.

Many times throughout my life I’ve thought about D-Day. Especially at the beach when I’m lugging coolers, chairs, bags, umbrellas and snacks across the hot sand.

As I reach the point of complaining, I think of the soldiers landing at Normandy.

Our arrival at the beach is a day of leisure. The arrival at the beach on D-Day was to save the world.

As I struggle trudging slowly across the beach with my arms overloaded with stuff, I thank God I am not under fire like the men on Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword beaches of Normandy.

I am looking for a spot to lay my towel and place my umbrella. They were looking to liberate Europe from the Nazi invasion.

As they crossed the beach, cannon fire rained down, small arms K98k Mauser’s, MP 40s and MG 42’s strafed the troops. Soldiers dodged land mines, barbed wire and the bodies of their fallen brothers. Through hell, they crossed that beach.

The first 24 hours of D-Day 1,465 killed, 1,928 missing and 6,603 wounded. Totals would soar as Operation Overlord continued for months.

I think about D-Day often. My mom and dad were young children on that day. I would hear them talk about how that was one of the greatest days in American and human history.

From a very young age I was taught to respect the sacrifice of those young men.

I also have a thought for my Scoutmaster. Robert Fersch Troop 375, Belleville, New Jersey. He passed away in 2012.

He seldom talked about World War II with us. When he did, we were riveted to his stories of the tank battles and the Battle of the Bulge. There he earned two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star serving our country. Thanks Mr. Fersch for being a great Scoutmaster and American.

Thank you to all who gave their lives for our country. So we may sit in traffic to enjoy weekends at the beach.

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