A Message from Omaha Beach

“Through the sign of the cross it is not the servant or the slave who is speaking, but the Lord of all creation.” —Pope St. John Paul II

I know a woman who visited the famous Omaha Beach, where the D-Day invasion occurred, and she met a veteran there she didn’t expect to encounter. He’d been a Nazi soldier at D-Day. And he shared with her the terror that he felt seeing a massive fleet of ships approach the beach. And when the Allies had gotten the upper hand, he had one bullet left in his gun and he thought, “This is the end.”

A U.S. soldier charged him. He lifted his gun and took a shot. The soldier fell to his knees, took his helmet off, fell to his back, made the Sign of the Cross, and died.

“It was at that moment,” the old man said, “that I realized Hitler was not God.” He miraculously survived that day — and the war — and came back 74 years later to honor the man who changed his life forever.

That soldier whose name we do not know — but who’s honored in heaven forever, I promise you — that soldier didn’t storm the beach that day animated by fear. He didn’t storm the beach that day animated by animosity toward people who had set themselves up as his enemy. He was animated by love — love for God — and laying down his life for his friends.

You want to be a reminder to the world that there’s more? More than what sucks us into darkness? More than what divides us? Live like that man died.

God, give us that grace.

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