The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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June 6, 2008

D-Day a day that will live in American memory

Every year about this time, I commemorate D-Day, and our U.S. servicemen heroes who stormed the Normandy beaches that day, by re-watching one of movie director Steven Speilberg’s masterpieces, “Saving Private Ryan.”

I vividly recall watching “Saving Private Ryan” the first time — during its initial theater release — at the Carmike Cinema house in Lawton in July 1998. I loved the movie so much, I watched it again the same weekend. Then a third and fourth time the next weekend.

I hadn’t been bitten so deeply by the movie bug since “Star Wars,” in 1977, when I was seven years old.

From the opening scene, “Saving Private Ryan” instantly became my favorite movie for all time.

Re-watching the movie every year, a few days before the D-Day anniversary, is a personal ritual with personal meaning for me.

My father’s father served in the Army infantry, entering Europe about one month after D-Day, and then fought on the continent for the remainder of the European war, which formally ended on May 8, 1945.

In my heart and spirit, as I watch “Saving Private Ryan” each year, I silently thank all the D-Day heroes — who died that day, who were wounded, who survived to fight another day, and those who have died since — and I pray each individual soul is at rest.

These men cleared the beaches my grandfather later walked on with complete security. He was lucky, his infantry division was assigned a follow-on tasking after D-Day. My father, who is a Baby Boomer born in 1946, would not have come into existence if my grandfather had been killed on June 6, 1944. And so on.

I silently thank our D-Day heroes for mustering the courage, faith and spirit within themselves to drive on against ferocious German resistance and unimaginable devastation.

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