Who was he? Have you seen the film?
Omaha Beach, Normandy, June 6, 1944.
I have watched him countless times.
He exits his landing craft burdened by pack.
Burdened by expectation, burdened by fear.
Trudging laboriously through surging surf.
Expectation demands so much.
He gives his all. He reaches the sand.
Thirty seconds onto Normandy ready to fight.
Then he collapses. It is over. He is done.
No mother’s voice to console … valor unrequited.
Just a potent projectile taken for us all.
He knows not of the outcome. He sees no tears shed for him.
There is no comforting voice. There is no appreciative moment.
Just darkness. Just silence. Just sacrifice.
Others go on. He remains on the sand. Nameless to us all.
An American on Omaha Beach. He has nothing more to give.
He gave all that he had. And he does not know more.
He knows not of victory. He knows not of conquest.
He just tried!
Will thanks make it better? I do not know!
He lies there on the sand. Vanquished for you and me.
Lost in time, lost in space and bereft of further touch.
Lost is God’s embrace.
We must not forget. Who was he?
He is every American soldier in one.
He is sacrifice too awful to comprehend.
We are too inadequate to appreciate.
He is the American soldier.
Shedd (June 3)