D-Day 1944


D-Day June 6, 1944

Sixty-nine years ago today a German solider looked out from his bunker and saw the English Channel covered with more than 5,000 ships, overhead he heard the roar of more than 13,000 aircraft and in those ships and planes was more than 160,000 young men with only one purpose; to remove him and all his forces from Europe. One of those young men was my neighbor from across Lindsey Street in Jackson, Tennessee; this is his story.

Bill Murray was the oldest of the three boys in his west Tennessee farm family. It fell on him to be in charge of the animals, preparing the land, and in general do all the things that his father’s frail health would not allow him to do.

Having been born in July of 1922 he was 19 when the Sunday of December 7, 1941 plunged us into war. By September of 1942 he like many of the boys of East Jackson found himself in training to become a member of the infantry of the United States Army.

The discipline and hard work of his years as a farmer’s son made the discipline and training of the army a natural for him and he quickly rose to the attention of the army leadership.

Bill was chosen to attend officer’s candidate school and received his commission as a lieutenant in the army in time to make the invasion of North Africa. From North Africa Lieutenant Murray went to Sicily for the tragic fighting for that Island where he was wounded and returned to England for hospitalization.

He was returned to duty in time to make the invasion of Normandy as part of the first wave on June 6, 1944. Lt. Murray led his men to safety and was in the first group to move inland in France.

Six weeks later on July 25, 1944 he was critically wounded and became part of the more than 10,000 Americans whose bodies remain buried at the American Cemetery in Normandy.

I was with my father the day they came to our house looking for his parents to bring them the official news that their oldest son would never come home. I remember the blue star in their window changing to gold and the deep silence that fell on that little home on South Lindsey Street.

For the next several years I would visit with the family, sit on their porch and listen to Mr. John as he spoke of his oldest and read some of the letters he had sent from all the places where he had served to keep me free.

I didn’t know Lieutenant Murray well, I was too young to be in his circle, but I saw first hand the pride he brought to his family and the certainty in their hearts that while he had paid the greatest price, it was a price he would gladly pay to know that his family was safe. The bible says to train up a child in the ways that he should go and he will not depart from those ways when he is old.  Murray was never old, his time stopped at age twenty two but his training as a boy paid great dividends to his family and our freedom.

The sacrifice for freedom has never stopped and the more than 400,000 who paid it in the Second World War has continued to be added to by the young men and women of today who fall in a foreign land that their land might be free. Lets us not forget, for their price is too great for us to waste. It is time our country returned to the days of joining hands and coming to an agreement so that once again we can stand tall and strong as America, the land of Beginning Again.

Published in: on June 6, 2013 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

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