On D-Day and Today, the Families Waited

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The families of the troops waited anxiously. They hoped that the invasion would be a success, and they also prayed for their loved ones. Would he be wounded? Would he be killed? Will he come home to us? Fathers, brothers, sons. Husbands, fiancés, boyfriends. The families waited nervously for word of them all.

Yesterday, on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, we rightly honored and remembered those who fought on that history-making day. Their sacrifices laid the foundation for victory and peace, at long last. We should also fondly remember and honor their families. It’s something that can be easy to overlook.

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My nephew is a cadet at West Point. Yesterday, there was a horrible training accident. An armored personnel carrier rolled over, wounding 20 cadets, two soldiers, and killing one cadet. For several hours, my sister Brenna waited nervously to hear if her son, my nephew, had been injured or killed. But a few moments ago, she learned that her son is unharmed. She is overjoyed at this news, and yet grieves for the family who has lost a son, a brother, a nephew. A loved one. As my sister cries tears of relief and joy, she also shares but a bit of the pain that family now feels.

The sacrifices made by those brave Allied troops on June 6, 1944 were felt by their comrades in arms. Yet the grief was felt by a far wider circle of family who supported their nation and their service member. They waited, and then received horrible news. They, too, sacrificed, and may G-d bless them and comfort them for their loss, then and now.

Rob Thomas — Rob Thomas is a rabbi and a member of the board of directors of National Review.

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