I think the longer I’ve lived in this world, the more I truly appreciate what we have in this present day. When you’re younger, you’re naïve, you don’t take the time to reminisce and contemplate how different our world would be had any of the wars of our past had ended differently.
Today is the day we have chosen to honour the brave men and women throughout history who gave their lives and fought to preserve the freedoms we enjoy without a thought today. It should be something we do every day, but one day is still better than none. These brave souls left everything behind to essentially be sent to their deaths or at the very least in harm’s way.
I cannot imagine how it was to just be drafted into the military. You’re at home one day, just enjoying life to the fullest and then a letter comes to your door, addressed specifically to you by someone or something you’ve never known, and it tells you that you are to leave your home, your family, your friends and join the military and face certain death. We portray these moments in movies like they’re all optimistic, that they’re ready to go and put a bullet in Hitler’s head, something to that extent. But deep down the majority of them had to know, they were not coming back. It reminds me of a great lyric in oddly enough Chris Jericho’s band Fozzy’s song “Storm The Beaches”, a song that to me perfectly encapsulates the infamous beaches of Normandy battles:
First to go, last to know. First to go, last to know. No shingles, no shields, no shellholes to hide. No cover, no walls, no chance to survive.
Can you imagine what these people felt once they entered the battlefield, hell the moments leading towards that. Imagine being on a boat heading towards the beaches of Normandy. You hear the relentless sounds of gunfire, explosions, screams in the distance. And as you get closer and closer, more and more bodies appear and the water gets redder and redder. That scene in Saving Private Ryan still holds a spot deep in the recesses of my mind as a true depiction of the horrors that occurred during those battles.
And all those images are things that we may never have to experience in our lifetimes.
So remember when we have all these arguments and fights with each other, whether it’s legitimate battles like racial, sexual and gender equality, religion and politics, to the pointless and downright asinine fights like every single comments thread on the internet, our rights and the ability to be able to have these discussions are due in part to those men and women who fought and the majority who died protecting our rights and freedoms.
Lest we forget.