Three years ago, I went to Europe for a week on Spring Break. It was myself and eight friends. A few of us decided one winter day that we would find the cheapest plane ticket to another continent and go there. We ended up picking Barcelona, Spain, and we planned this trip ourselves. No tour guides, no fancy hotel, no travel agent. Just 9 college kids with no parents and a suddenly legal ability to buy alcohol. It ended up being a fantastic week with no shortage of fun times.
I scrapbooked the trip this past summer, when I needed something to do on those random one-day breaks between night shifts. Tonight I pulled out all my scrapbooking supplies and found a bunch of pictures that I could use to add a few more pages. Naturally I had the TV on, and Saving Private Ryan began to play.
Today is June 6, the 65th anniversary of the day thousands died just to make it onto a beach.
It brings things into perspective.
I was annoyed at the few hours spent waiting in the German airport for our flight to Spain; many of those fighting on June 6 died within minutes. They would have given anything for a few more hours.
I was annoyed when I missed a page in my scrapbook and had to take it apart again to put in the missing page; many of those fighting on June 6 never got to send their final letters after being killed in the Battle of Normandy. They would have given anything to say a last goodbye.
I was annoyed when the water at Sitges was too cold to even put my feet into; many of those fighting on June 6 drowned when their bullet ridden bodies couldn't keep their heads above water any longer. They would have given anything to just stand on the beach.
I was annoyed when we only got to spend a few hours at Sitges; many of those fighting on June 6 never made it off the beach. They would have given anything just to live.
Every day of my life I take things for granted, become annoyed at the insignificant, and fail to keep the necessary perspective. I fail to always keep in mind that there are thousands upon thousands of soldiers who never again had the chance to take the little things for granted. It is humbling to recall those who died fighting so many years ago in a war I only know from textbooks and movies. It is humbling to know they are braver than I will ever be.
It's been 65 years. Although I often put my own selfish thoughts in the forefront of my mind, I will never truly forget those who die to give me the freedoms I hardly deserve. Thank you.