The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Greater love...

A long day today -- Saturday, June 6 -- but certainly not the "Longest Day" of the sort experienced by another generation of Americans 65 years ago when they found themselves scrambling up the beaches of Normandy under heavy fire on D-Day. We owe these men --- many of them forever young in their graves -- and the others who stormed the beaches of the Pacific, North Africa, Sicily and Italy, a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. The best we can do is to remember them and their heroism.

I suppose that for most of us, history, and in particular recent history, is essentially personal. We automatically make mental connections between the events of history and the people who took part in them, especially when those people also entered into our lives. My father, who died a few years ago at the age of 95, was a veteran of the war in Europe and, although he didn't take part in D-Day, he did play a role in that horrible war. Perhaps more importantly, John McCarthy played a very active part in the restoration of postwar Europe, especially in the rebuilding of a free Germany. Whenever I see or hear anything about that devastating war, I reflexively think of him. Just as when I encounter anything about the Boxer Rebellion or the Spanish American War I can't help but think of my grandfather, another John McCarthy, who served in both conflicts. In the same way, as a veteran of the war in Vietnam, I cannot think of that conflict without also calling to mind the many friends who died there.

A few moments ago I heard a news report stating that almost 900 WW2 veterans die each day. This great generation of selfless heroes is disappearing before our eyes, and as they leave us their grandchildren and great-grandchildren are instead focused on the latest iPhone release or ranting about the results of the American Idol vote. Given the state of our educational system, I suspect many of these young people don't know why or who we fought in World War II.

If we know nothing of the totalitarian regimes of the past, it's unlikely we'll be able to recognize those we must confront today or will face in the future. Unless we learn to act like grown-ups, unless we grow up just as those young men on the beaches had to grow up, unless we change, and change quickly, I'm afraid we are doomed to join the countless other nations that make up the debris of history.


1 comment:

  1. I don't think most of my peers (or the younger generations) will be able to recognize any form of organized evil in this world - no more than the Germans (or even many Americans before Pearl Harbor) were able to recognize the Nazi Party as evil. It is why we lost the battle against Abortion, the greatest form of evil in this time. Notre Dame invited Obama to receive a doctorate this year despite the protest of many Bishops. The Church needs strong and brave missionaries, unfortunately, it must start at the top or it will never happen. I think the reform of the reform happened too late, due to a massive influx of homosexuals into the priesthood, so much so, we are going to be forced underground in another generation. It is that bad.