D-Day Heroes

Honoring D-Day: What Makes a Hero?

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans6 Minutes

They’re called the Greatest Generation – and in 1944, over 11.5 million of them served in the United States military. Today, we honor the heroes of D-Day.

Who are they? How can we best honor their memory?

Remembering their sacrifice, the horrors they faced, and why they did so is a good first step. But it must not stop there – honor can only be effectively shown by living out the principles these heroes lived by.

For the heroes of D-Day, the fight against Socialism was worth dying for –  they saw the atrocities that Socialist ideology led to and resolved to fight. And over 600,000 soldiers died in that war. We honor their memories by treasuring the freedom they bought for us with their heroic decision to act.

Two and a half years earlier, the bombing of Pearl Harbor had shattered America’s resolve to ignore the evil of Nazism. The truth of the famous quote, “The only thing needed for evil to advance is good men who do nothing,” became clear through the unprovoked attack and America joined the Allied forces.

By June 6, 1944, the citizens of the nations “Allied Powers” — from children to grandparents — were all-in on their responsibility to protect freedom. Because the Greatest Generation understood that heroes must accept their part in fighting evil, D-Day was the beginning of the end of WW II. Less than one year later, Germany surrendered unconditionally.

President F.D. Roosevelt spoke to the heart of heroes on D-Day:

The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you …

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely …

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

Heroes really are ordinary folks – everyone has the capacity to be one. Most of the soldiers who stormed the beaches on D-Day were frightened youngsters under 20 years old. They didn’t choose to be heroes, they chose to accept responsibility without regard for the cost. And that’s what makes a hero! Some paid with their lives, others paid by carrying the scars of that day for the remainder of their lives.

Preparation, training, and absolute belief in the mission they were on gave ordinary youth the courage to obey their Commander. When the command came to jump into the bullet torn skies and seas, conviction made their fear impotent. Each one understood that they lived in a fallen world where evil marches and steals lives. They chose to act as a force of good to stop the advance of evil.

But evil still marches on, and the world desperately needs heroes today.

Will You Be a Hero?

As Christians, our commander is Jesus Christ. We have an operations manual called the Bible. Accepting Christ as Savior means accepting the call into the epic battle of evil and good. Jesus won the war, but we are here as His ambassadors in an evil world. To complete our mission of rescuing souls from evil, we need to follow the example of the D-Day heroes.

We must prepare, train, and act. Christians prepare by studying the Word of God. We train by unselfishly loving all God puts in our path. We act by stepping out with courage to do as Jesus commanded:

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying,

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 16:18-20).

If you want to honor the heroes of D-Day, follow the principles they exhibited. Be prepared. Be well-trained. Obey your Commander. Invest in knowing the Words of the Bible – they are the essence of our Commander. Be willing to act even when fear tempts you to freeze.

Jesus said He came to set captives free – we must be on the same mission. What has the Commander asked you to step into? The D-Day invasion succeeded because of the combined force of good – no one person won the day. Each hero did their part.

Who can you be a hero for today?