Do You Believe in D-Day?

Yesterday was the fiftieth anniversary of D-Day, when Allied troops crossed the English Channel and began the liberation of Europe. It was a liberation paid for literally in blood: 8,000 casualties in a single day. But what does this anniversary mean to Americans today? Do you believe in D-Day? In a London airport last week, I watched as hundreds of American veterans arrived for D-Day ceremonies. Many walked with canes, proudly wearing faded uniforms and sporting their medals. I imagined them 50 years ago as mere boys, jumping from boats into a hail of bullets on the beaches of Normandy. And I thought, These men put their lives on the line. And for what? What did so many sacrifice to defend? The answer ought to be obvious: They gave their lives to defend the principles upon which our country is based—the liberties that the Nazi regime trampled underfoot as their jackboots marched across Europe. But for many Americans the answer is not so obvious. Let me give you an example. When I returned from London, I picked up the newspaper and discovered a controversy erupting in Florida schools over whether American ideals should be taught as superior. The Lake County school board had recently passed a resolution requiring teachers to instill in students "an appreciation of our American heritage and culture"—to celebrate our republican form of government, freedom of religion, a free economy, and "basic values that are superior to other foreign or historic cultures." Advocates of multiculturalism were horrified: They accused the board of hate-mongering, racism, and intolerance. But as everyone knows, multiculturalism itself exhibits a strong anti-American bias. Our nation's founders—people like Washington, Adams, Madison—are disdained as Dead White Males. Curricula that focus on Western concepts of government and liberty are sneeringly denounced as "Eurocentric." The multiculturalist version of American history is a tale of oppression, racism, and genocide. Against this backdrop, the Lake County school board was merely hoping to restore some balance. Remember, we're talking here about young children who still need to be taught a scale of values. They need adults to teach them that a culture that protects human rights is superior to a culture of concentration camps. That a country based on a Bill of Rights is superior to totalitarianism. That religious liberty is better than religious persecution. Our founders enunciated these universal ideals so effectively that America became a beacon to the world. To acknowledge that fact is not bigotry. On the contrary, it's a crucial step to passing these ideals on to the next generation. Are these ideals really worth passing on? Are they in fact "superior"? Just ask the thousands of veterans who returned to Normandy this weekend, quietly surveying the beaches where so many of their comrades fell. Ask them, Was the sacrifice worth it? Ask the people liberated from Nazi rule—the Poles, the French, the Dutch. Ask them, Was the sacrifice worth it? I have no doubt they would all give a resounding Yes! The real question is, Would we? Will Americans be taken in by multiculturalism—or will we defend the universal ideals our soldiers fought for so bravely in Normandy.


Chuck Colson


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