I went to a local graduation last night. Though our current economic conditions might dampen the Class of '09's immediate optimism, I'm sure those graduates who want to work hard will still be able to "harness the power of their dreams." I'm sure something like that was said in many a graduation speech over the last few weeks. Oh, I have nothing against dreams, but as a guiding principle of one's life, one needs to make sure his or her dream is a good one and a worthy one.
Still, our graduates are FREE to dream and to pursue dreams, only because other graduates 65 years ago today (D-Day) were willing to invade France at Normandy to turn the tide of the second world war. Many of the allied invading force were in their late teens or early twenties, including 160,000 troops, and 195,700 allied naval personnel in over 5,000 ships.
Graduation is a time when many graduates get letters of affirmation from family and friends. Such letters are filled with expressions of love, affirmation and pride. Imagine, however, if they were to receive a letter like the one given in 1944 to the 1000's of young allied soldiers set to invade Normandy by Gen. Dwight Eisenhower:
You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, he will fight savagely.
But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory!
I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory! Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
-- Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13