What one really needs is friendship, and the affirmation that life is full and good. Moments, fleeting moments, when love has penetrated us bone-deep. David
Loxterkamp, M. D., A Measure
of My Days, The Journal of a Country Doctor
Chalet LAbri @ Massanutten
September 1, 2002
Absorbing my thoughts is a memorable visit I made with Jim Williams last week to the
National D-Day Memorial at Bedford, Virginia. Bedford was chosen as the most
appropriate site for the Memorial because 19 of the small towns young men were killed on June 6, 1944 at Omaha beach in the
Normandy invasion. Thus it made the greatest sacrifice with the greatest loss
per-capita of any other community in America. My visit prompts me to read everything
I can find about that fateful day. Some 77,000 American troops participated in
the D-Day invasion; 2,400 Americans were killed that day. One eyewitness wrote in his journal: the sea runs red with American
blood. Together with troops in much smaller numbers from other nations,
the Allied Forces who participated gave humanity the most important story of the twentieth century. In terms of its broad and residual impact on the course of world events wrote one historian, the D-Day
invasion rivals the French Revolution as a watershed of modern history. If not
the most difficult day of World War II, it was surely the most important. The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan
are film versions of D-Day.
Hollywood aside, the memorial simulating Omaha Beach on that fateful day
with bronze soldiers dead in the water, captures the emotions as nothing else could.
Yet once more I was reminded of the enormous price paid for our countrys blessed freedom and abundance.
The days grow short and down to a precious few when we
reach September. It is dark as my feet reluctantly touch the floor these days
at six AM. Though twenty days remain of summer, already these signals of autumn
mark the unrelenting march of time: birch trees drop mottled and golden leaves;
the forest back of the chalet is tinged with amber, rust, purple; the night crickets chorus a premature end of summer. On the early dawn horizon squadrons of migrating starlings mark my departure for the
Wellness Center to swim.
Monarchs and blackpolls have long since begun their long
jaunt to South America. Consider the birds, I am reminded in Lukes gospel. They neither sow nor reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? These are apt words to ponder as many fret about another 911 and the unknowns that confront our future. William Cullen Bryant gazed long upon a solitary waterfowl disappearing into a glorious
evening sunset and blessed us with his poetic hope:
There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along the pathless coast
The desert and illimitable air
Lone wandering, but not lost....
Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven
swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given....
He who, from zone to zone,
through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.
(from To a Waterfowl)
Fanny Crosby, blind and in the dark, came to the end of her long journey of ninety
singing "All the Way My Savior Leads Me. " So I take hope and leave all my
in the hands of the Administrator of the universe and rejoice in the blessings
of another summer soon passing
into the ages.