70 years ago today was D-Day. And this is what that means to me:
There are two side of ‘we never forget’.
The Allied Countries ‘celebrating’ D-Day are remembering the fallen and are reminding today’s world that sometimes you have to sacrifice yourself for the greater good, the common goal.
You have to do what’s ‘right’. Even if that means sacrificing so much. And this is noble and true.
But there is another side to this for me.
I’m German. I don’t identify with anything that happened during the Nazi regime, and I have no connections left to anyone involved. As a country have done a admirable job trying to recover, retribute, and restore what we destroyed.
Yet every WWII Anniversary it will always feel like it was I that lost. It was important that we did loose, don’t understand me wrong. But we lost.
It was my country that allowed the Nazis to rise in power and my people unable to recognize what was going on and unable to stop it. We needed the help. We needed to be defeated, destroyed, and demolished.
We didn’t loose on that infamous day in the Normandy. As individuals and as a society we had lost years before that, when we allowed Hitler to rise to power. We didn’t see it coming, or worse, we chose to look the other side.
We allowed ourselves to be swept away in national pride and fear of the other. We believed that we deserved better than our neighbor. We turned a blind eye to the mob and chose to not stand up and take a stand. That’s when we had lost.
As a Germans what I remember and commemorate on those WWII Anniversaries is this:
Evil can lurk within me, within all of us. As an individual and as a society we are able to be destructive, blind, dangerous, and foolish.
There is great power in unifying people under a common passionate call to action. But this great power can be used for good and for evil.
You can be used, blindsided and guided down a path of destruction that you never imagine and you would never sign up for.
There are times when you need help. When the medicine prescribed by the doctor means total and utter obliteration, destruction, and humiliation.
Giving it all and winning is what we like to remember, it’s worth the sacrifice. But giving it all and realizing that all is lost is incomprehensibly hard. And how do you get up from that? Will you allow yourself to get a second chance?
You are more powerful than you think. But it’s always a double-edged sword.
And this is what I never want to forget.