An open journal entry…
The impending alarm finally went off, 5:45am on a Monday morning. Well, today to be exact, June 6, 2016. As I was buried beneath blankets, the contemplation of skipping practice was my first thought. The snooze button was hit about three times, possibly four. Honestly it’s like clockwork, deciphering if it’s worth missing practice. I mean, after all, it’s now 6:20am on my day off. But then I got out of bed; I changed, got into my car and arrived to practice. I rolled out my mat. I prayed, I breathed, I was frustrated, I was happy, I was sweating, I was exhausted, I was awake, alive all at the same time. As I finished practice, I walked my hands to my feet, extended my arms up first then down in prayer position. I repeated the closing mantra in my head, the words flowing at barely a whisper, unrecognizable to the person beside me. In Sanskrit, translated to English I said, “May all be well with mankind. May the leaders of the earth protect in every way by keeping to the right path. May there be goodness for those who know the earth to be sacred. May all the worlds be happy.” I had practiced freely.
On this same morning, 72 years ago, before dawn approached, men from all walks of life awoke to a very different experience. Some 156, 000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches on the coast of Normandy, France. We now know this as D-DAY, the largest amphibious invasion, and the beginning of the liberation of Europe. It was the advancement of tearing down the Nazis Regime and the evils hidden inside that Regime. The same time I awoke to meet the beauty of the rising sun, thousands of men were ascending upon the beaches. A later sunset would be robbed by so many. D-Day had turned the tide in the European theatre of war.
I’m not here to give a history lesson though. Part of me even wonders why I choose to write and share this as nothing could ever really express my gratitude to the men and women who served. Taken from Eugene B. Sledge’s memoir With The Old Breed he says, “War is brutish, inglorious and a terrible waste…the only redeeming factors were my comrades incredible bravery and their devotion to each other.” I am reminded in the darkest of times, even when the soul can bare the devil himself, there are those who continue to cast away evil using their exuberant light to change the world. While I wish and hope for a non-violent world I am fully aware we are still bogged down with tragedy. However, the moment we realize our actions can change the face of the earth, is the moment things will begin to rectify. We will begin to heal and find our path to peace.
So I ask myself again to reevaluate how I felt waking up this morning. I awoke in a free country, to practice a free belief, in a loving household. I do not take this for granted. I also know who to thank for that. So I ask you, how did you feel waking up this morning?
Lest we forget.
I stopped by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton to commemorate the day.