Liberty Yell: The Battle

By Matthew Sperling on Jun 15, 2008 at 12:15 PM in Liberty Yell

Liberty Yell: The Battle

I am writing to you from Paris, France. A couple of days ago, I visited the beaches at Normandy where the Allies (real allies, not a coalition of the willing to be duped) on June 6, 1944, began that part of the war which finally put the German and Italian fascists out of business.

What beautiful places there are on the coast of Normandy. Even where there are still huge bomb craters and ruined fortifications, nature has risen in all its beauty from the death and destruction. Still, you cannot visit these places without being aware of the terror and courage of that day a little over 64 years ago.   

We in the west who are the immediate beneficiaries of those events have gotten off pretty lightly since then. Maybe that's the way it should be, to a point, anyway: With their blood the men who died and were wounded that day bought most of us more than half a century of peace and prosperity. On the other hand, it seems doubtful they would have chosen to die for a consumerism that is consuming our culture and our world.

The sacrifices made on D-Day deserve to be repaid with a better coin than has been in wide circulation for quite some time. Every one of us knows it, but we will never be at peace until we live it. We can rely on our natural ability to turn away from our duty, or we can rely on our equally natural ability to act with courage, even when facing great difficulty and danger.   

I imagine that most of you don't want to hear what I'm saying, because I don't even want to hear it. I doubt that most of the men who went ashore that June day were happy about it. Still, there are moments when we have to bend ourselves to the task at hand and hope for the best.

We can still hope that democracy, as we think it should be, will get us out of the jam we put ourselves in by allowing our government--Democrats and Republicans alike--to engage our country in yet another war based mostly on lies. Not to mention the frequency with which those same two-party members put their own interests ahead of the people they were allegedly elected to serve. If a change in government doesn't work, there is no doubt that the hour will one day arrive when we'll have to find out what we're made of. Pray to god or a tree or whatever you like that that day never comes. It may not do any good, but it will help pass the time.

The Battle

They will stay this way forever,
The men who died at Normandy.
Their bodies are confined
To a small piece of ground.
Marble markers rise like trees
Rooted in their remains and
Nurtured by their sacrifice.
They came this way in violence
With the hope of ending violence.
The years pass over their hopes
Less suddenly and more gently
Than the moments in which they died,
But, eventually, with no less force.
The same earth that long ago
Removed their bodies
From the good and bad of this world
Will melt the white stones above them
Like sugar cubes dropped
Into a hot cup of tea.

Memory competes with the years,
And some things are forgotten.
“My Uncle John died at Normandy.”
“A relative died during World War Two.”
“There were a couple of big wars last century.”
“It was a violent age.”

But we cannot claim
The forgetfulness of centuries.
The blood that covered the beaches called
Omaha, Juno, Utah, Sword, and Gold
Is still close to our own,
And these words are carved in stone
Still young in the age of stones:

To these we owe the high resolve
That the cause for which they died shall live.

What was their cause and what is ours?
Ask yourself and know that
Their fight is our fight.
Their blood is our blood and
Always will be until the battle is won.