Wednesday, September 10, 2008
After being in DC recently I have a rekindled interest in the Holocaust and WW II. Today I met a lively, gregarious 82 year old man who fought in that war. He was upbeat and positive throughout our conversation until I asked him what he did in the service. At first he was ok..."I was a tank operator." Then he looked at me and said softly, "People have no idea what that war was like. I was there when the Battle of Normandy began and we lost 4, 000 men in one day alone."
At that point his eyes filled with tears and his voice quivered. "I still can't talk about it. I just can't."
As I stood looking into his eyes, my 38 year old tear-filled eyes that couldn't begin to fathom what his 82 year old tear-filled eyes had witnessed, I quietly said "Thank you, sir."
The total estimated human loss of life caused by World War II was roughly 72 million people, making it the deadliest and most destructive war in human history. The civilian toll was around 47 million, including 20 million deaths due to war-related famine and disease. The military toll was about 25 million with US casualties at 416,800. On D-Day, the beginning of the Battle of Normandy, the deaths on that one day is guessed to be about 5,000 (close to the count I heard today).
Tomorrow is 9/11. Please take time to say a prayer for our servicemen and women- past and present.