Originally Published: May 29, 2011 9:47 p.m.
"It is D-Day plus five years, soldier, on this sandy coast where the world hinged on what you did.
"Because you did well here your world at home is as good as it is and if it isn't any better, why they'll have to blame someone else. There are some things you can do with a gun and there are other things you can't.
"What's it like here now, soldier, five years after you landed and put the first torch to Adolf Hitler's Western Wall?
"Well, the best answer might come from Pvt. Anthony R. Calif, or his neighbor, Pfc. Marvin C. Garness, or his neighbor, Lt. George W. Phillips, who has become a buddy of Staff Sgt. Miles S. Lewis.
"They have all settled here together, and they are all quiet men.
"But they wouldn't be interested so much in telling you what it's like now.
"They'd rather ask you: 'What's it like now at home? And my folks - are they well and happy?'
"For they came here to stay, silent citizens of a silent American city on foreign soil. They rest with 9,523 other soldiers in the U.S. military cemetery atop a high green hill overlooking Omaha Beach."
When Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press columnist and war correspondent Hal Boyle (1911-1974) wrote these timeless words a generation ago, he was speaking to the soldiers America lost during the invasion of Normandy and the battles that came after during World War II.
Yet, the eloquence of his poignant tribute resonates today as a reminder that we must not forget our armed forces, the men and women, who have died in all our wars and those who continue to fight for the freedoms we cherish today.
Yes, Pvt. Calif, Pfc. Garness, Lt. Phillips and Staff Sgt. Lewis, things here at home are different than when you left to go to war, but America still stands as the greatest democracy in the world. Rest assured that legions have followed your legacy and have gone into battle in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan and other conflicts across the globe to protect your ideals.
You have our promise today, Memorial Day, that we will remember the true meaning of this observance and take time from what we are doing to honor you with our deepest gratitude and respect.
For, if not for you, we, the folks at home, would not have this holiday to share with our families and friends.