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JayMac: Remembering the D-Day sacrifices, 75 years later

President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and Brigitte Macron, watch a flyover during a ceremony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day at the American Normandy cemetery, Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

DISCLAIMER: the following is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of KSL Newsradio or its ownership.

75 years ago, 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel during the D-Day to land on five beaches to liberate Europe from the Nazi murder machine. More than 13,000 aircraft and 5,000 ships supported the operation. The exact number of casualties is not known, but it is estimated that in a single day 10,000 Allied troops were killed, wounded or were missing in action; some 6,600 of whom were Americans.

I wasn’t there on D-Day. But I can tell you that after Sept. 11, we were not a separated people. Because when you have a common cause, a common enemy and a common tragedy, it strips away all the things that do not matter.

The only day I can liken the D-Day invasion to was the beginning of the war in Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein: the nighttime bombing, the shock and awe. But, of course, World War II was totally different; it was a fight for the free world.

This is a profound reminder, on this 75th anniversary of D-Day, for what really matters in life. Momentous events like D-day unify us. The small things that disappear in the face of tragedy tell us what really matters.

Stand with Trump when he gets it right

I’m grateful for the tone of our president at the ceremony. He didn’t make this about himself, but about those who sacrificed everything. He did all of us proud. I hope you are able — at least for one day — to have all of the politics stripped away, listen to his message and focus on the unity that was there as we fought a common enemy all those decades ago.

“To the men who sit behind me and to the boys who rest in the field before me, your example will never, ever grow old,” Trump said of the warriors who landed on the beaches and parachuted from the skies over Normandy, France. “As one of the men here told me, all of the heroes are buried here.

“They battled not for control and domination, but for liberty, democracy and self-rule,” Trump said.

He made it about the heroes, instead of about himself.

When I see the good, I will call out the good, so we know it’s there and what it looks like. The same with the bad, and I don’t care about the politics of the situation. I never have. That’s just how I roll.

On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, our president got it right, and that needs to be pointed out, so we know what it looks like.

In baseball, it’s like the first strike that goes over the plate, and the batter just watches it go past. The coach points out to the hitter, OK, that’s what a strike looks like, now you know what to swing at.

Of course, there are many instances when Trump goes off the prepared speech and says what he wants. Today, he made a choice to make it about the soldiers and NOT himself. He gets credit for that. If you don’t give him credit for when he gets it right, then you lose credibility when you only focus on when he gets it wrong.

“The GIs who boarded the landing craft that morning knew that they carried on their shoulders, not just the pack of a soldier, but the fate of the world,” Trump said.

I don’t care who wrote the speech. He chose to deliver it, and it was a great speech. To not celebrate with the president on this day is a mistake and might be a sign that you’re in too deep.

The society we have today and all the freedoms we enjoy are a direct result of what happened on D-Day 75 years ago and all those who sacrificed everything. And those at home who sacrificed their jobs, their time to work in factories to produce the weapons of war. A unified nation, a unified cause. I wonder what that must have felt like.

We all ought to be grateful that we can stand in the streets and debate what we wish, that we’re not locked up or shot when we disagree with our leaders.

So often in our world, we get caught up in matters, that if we were in a tragedy at the time, that they wouldn’t matter and wouldn’t divide us. After Sept. 11, being a Republican or a Democrat didn’t matter. We were all just Americans who were attacked, but we were unified in our resolve.

Because of the sacrifices made on D-Day all those years ago, take this moment today to remember what is most important.


Jay Mcfarland hosts the JayMac News Show, weekdays from 12:30 to 3 p.m. on KSL Newsradio, as well as the fictional podcast, Hosts of Eden. KSL Newsradio is part of Bonneville Media and based in Salt Lake City, Utah.