June 6, 1944 was D-Day. It was the moment when America hit the ground in France and began the invasion that would lead to the fall of Nazis Germany.
And that moment marked France.
Listening to my French dinner family talk about it, I realized for the first time what that really meant. It was America’s glorious world moment. Not just because we won. Not just because we saved France from the Nazis. But because Americans, thousands of Americans, gave their lives to the beaches. To free France. All despite the fact that they probably didn’t have anything to do with France before that day.
We saved them, and paid with our blood.
And I think America remembers that glory and sacrifice. We remember how much thanks we received for coming to the aid of the Allies against the fascists. And I think that’s why we get involved in conflicts around the world now. We want that old glory back. We want to live it again.
But the reason we had it in the first place is because it was selfless. I mean, obviously we had a definite interest in doing it, but that glory of war wasn’t why we went in. And ever since, I think, it has.
We keep “bringing democracy” to people like we’re fighting the same old fight against first the fascists and then the communists. The only difference is we didn’t invade Germany or Russia in 1933 or 1917. We waited until someone else said, “We need help.”