I only remember my grandfather talking about landing at Omaha beach once. He didn't really say that much and got too choked up to continue. That's the only time I think I saw my grandfather cry. The significance of that moment didn't really sink in until seven years ago when I visited Normandy and stood at the top of Omaha, looking down at the expanse of beach and massive hill.
It would be arrogant of me to think I understood in any way what my grandfather experienced that day or that night huddled in a hole, scared for his life. What I can say is that my heart trembled at the weak recreation that my imagination came up with. It was a fear that I'm not sure I would be willing to face.
And so it is with great respect, love, and appreciation that I say to John Ring and the thousands of other men who risked and gave their lives to take those beaches - thank you. Thank you for defending your countries, defending freedom, defending the oppressed, and standing up for justice 65 years ago.