Never forget

Picture in your mind, for a moment, the young men who will be crossing the stage inside the Ice for Kids Arena later this month to receive their high school diplomas.
Perhaps one of them is your son or grandson, a brother or nephew. And no doubt they’ll be grinning from ear to ear as they relish their accomplishment and look ahead—both to the “chem-free” grad party later that night and the prospects of college or university this fall.
Now picture another group of young men, this time wearing army uniforms instead of graduation gowns, readying to board ships, planes, or gliders in the dark hours before the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944—60 years ago this coming Sunday.
The only thing on the minds of these young men, most in their late teens or early 20s, was the prospect of parachuting into enemy territory in the dead of night or having to face German machine gun fire and mortars on the beaches of Normandy in a few short hours. Many, of course, would not survive the coming day.
It is these young men we salute as we prepare to mark the 60th anniversary of D-Day—men now in their late 70s or 80s who risked, or gave, their lives for freedom and their country. Seeing them today, aged, it is hard to imagine just how young they were when they stormed Juno Beach and the others that fateful morning.
The veterans stand fewer each year, and the memory of D-Day and the other epic battles of the Second World War grow dimmer with each new generation. But we must never forget their sacrifices and bravery; we must never take our freedom or country for granted.
It is the least we can do to thank and repay them.