Skip to main content

Surviving D-Day

Seventy years ago, on June 6, 1944, as part of the biggest seaborne invasion in history, the Canadian Army landed on Juno Beach in Normandy. This week, especially, we remember that day of costly heroism and bloody sacrifice; events of such bravery in the face of terror that would be unimaginable were it not for the film and photographic record. The world wide web and media are rich sources of the stories of eye witnesses. We will not forget.

I watched a veteran remember that day in the documentary: Normandy--Surviving D-Day. His name was Hal Bombeck. Hal had the option of changing the name of his religion on his dog tags in case he fell into enemy hands; it would have given him a better chance of surviving. He didn't change the name of his religion; in fact, he drew a large, yellow Star of David on the back of his jacket; with "The Bronx, New York;" so they'd have no trouble identifying him. Hal is Jewish.

Jews were a special target of hatred by the Nazis, along with other groups, including the disabled, who had been the first to be experimented on and exterminated.

For the Nazi's, living was for the Aryan race--selective breeding-- selected survival. Anyone different or deficient was simply done away with. They managed this with so little protest from their own population by deliberately "hardening" them  to accept the unacceptable. 

There are lessons we must learn from history and not forget, especially when learning them cost so many so much. And yet...
Have we... 


Why they died? 

Dave Hingsburger wrote a post on his blogRolling Around in My Head in which he referred to Denmark's proud boast that they will be "Downs Syndrome free by 2030" (see The Globe and Mail: Deselecting our Children.) 

My initial reaction was one of mourning and sadness, but the Globe and Mail article challenges our hypocrisy in condemning Denmark, when in North America "90% of Downs Syndrome babies are aborted." 

This morning I stood in the hallway outside my office. On the walls hang several portraits of people with disabilities I've known and who have passed on. I often pause before one or other of the photos and remember the lives of the people they represent. All of them were institutionalized for many decades of the one precious life they had to live. 

Jim's face has the recognizable features of Downs Syndrome. When I gaze at his face I see joy. I remember his mischief, and see his gentleness and humour.  I remember that this face could transform into an equally clear expression of displeasure. His words were few, and he got along just fine without needing too many.
I touch the faces as I remember them. Each person affected my life in some way and I will always be humbled and grateful that their lives crossed mine.

They endured. They survived. And with such grace, where surely I would have been bitter.They seized life in freedom with gusto and joy; visible; present; part of "us."

But it seems a genetic marker is a target for elimination as clear as the Star of David on Hal Bombeck's back. 

Please pray... 

We don't forget...

Why they died. 


Susan said…

Popular posts from this blog

Just Joy!

Our family has a standing date for Sunday dinner on the first Sunday of every month. Not that we don't see each other at any other time, but we all know that particular Sunday is pretty much for sure--and I look forward to it so much--the front door bursting open and our house being filled once more with the voices and vibrancy of six grandchildren and their parents. 

This week Spero, Brenda's new Australian Shepherd puppy came too, and met his extended family, leaving Molson at home to have a rest! He was duly adored by all of us.

He came with a dazzling array of toys and is proving a fast learner, already sitting on command and responding to Tori's training. I was so impressed at her technique of quickly rewarding a turnaround from any slight naughtiness with praise for "good sitting," or "good" any other desirable behaviour! 

Tippy had her hair cut stunningly and bravely short the day before; making a statement about who she is as a unique individual, o…

The Secret Adventures of Susan's Scottish Scarf

By Belinda (with a lot of help from Susan :))
I was saying goodnight to her at the front door this week when she told me. There was apparently more to the scarf around her neck than I knew. 
The scarf had been a gift from me for Susan's birthday on Tuesday December 18th. It had been her 60th; and that day I had treated her to lunch to celebrate. 
We met at a tiny restaurant, Port Soiree, in Schomberg,near her office. It was a restaurant neither of us had been to before and it turned out to be a gem, with artsy ambiance, amazing food, wonderful service and modest pricing. In other words, it was perfect!