We Drink From Wells That We Did Not Dig

Editor’s Note: Participants in the Lunt Capital Investment Trek recently visited the beaches and cemeteries of Normandy, the site of the greatest amphibious and airborne operation of all time. 

The invasion by Allied forces changed the course of history, helping ensure the freedoms we enjoy today. Thousands of brave men paid the ultimate sacrifice. While there, a special blog post in recognition of the hallowed events that transpired at Normandy was written by Retired Brigadier General Larry Lunt.  Lunt is a former Utah state legislator and chair of the Utah Republican Party. He spent 36 years in the military, and has a deep love of our country and an unmatched appreciation for all who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy.  At the time of his retirement, Lunt was commander of the Utah Air National Guard.  His military service stretched from Vietnam to the response to the 9-11 attacks.

Normandy and the “Greatest Generation”

The Battle of Normandy began 71 years ago on June 6, 1944.  When the Battle of Normandy was over, 209,000 Allied troops were killed, wounded, or missing.  Many of these were American soldiers who were willing to sacrifice everything to ensure the perpetuation of a society built on ordered liberty for themselves, their posterity, and millions of other in nations around the world, people they did not know.

Their generation became known as the “greatest generation,” and rightfully so.  This generation mobilized both at home and in combat, and bore the brunt of World War II in both Europe and in the Pacific.  What was remarkable about this generation was that they were willing to devote all that they had, even their lives, to preserve freedom and combat conspiring men who would enslave everyone they could.  These criminals against humanity were not successful because the “greatest generation” stood united against them.

Normandy is the application of the principles found in the Magna Carta

The Magna Carta’s 800 year anniversary was also in June of this year.  King John, pressured by English barons, reluctantly signed the Magna Carta, Latin for “Great Charter”, on June 15, 1215.  The critical meetings and signing took place at Runnymede, a meadow along the River Thames outside London.

The Magna Carta has been called “the most important bargain in the history of the human race… the greatest constitutional document of all time, and the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.  It was here that the idea of the law standing above the government first took contractual form.  King John accepted that he would no longer get to make the rules up as he went along.  From that acceptance flowed, ultimately, all the rights and freedoms that we now take for granted: uncensored newspapers, security of property, equality before the law, habeas corpus, regular elections, sanctity of contract, jury trials…” (Daniel Hannan, Eight Centuries of Liberty, Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2015, C1).

These rights and freedoms we now take for granted was what the greatest generation fought for and was willing to die for.  The Magna Carta and Normandy remind us that we drink from wells that we did not dig and we are shaded by trees we did not plant.  The Magna Carta and Normandy allow us to learn from the past and draw strength from those who have gone before.

The fight for freedom beginning with the Magna Carta and exemplified at Normandy continues

Today, the enemies of freedom, terrorists and criminals of all kinds, do not want to be identified so they do not wear uniforms.  Yet their actions and beliefs reveal them.  Terrorists including ISIS abroad and criminal gangs at home are obvious.

The not so obvious threats to freedom come from people and policies who, intentionally or unintentionally, subvert our freedoms by increasing the power of government at the expense of the individuals, families, and communities contrary to what the Magna Carta and Normandy stand for.

Teach the history and principles of the Magna Carta and of Normandy to your children

Ronald Reagan once said: “Freedom is a fragile thing and only one generation away from extinction.”  This reminds us of a stanza from the poem In Flanders Fields written on a battle field of WW I:  “To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high.”

Parents are by far the best teachers of values including the need to defend freedom.  “It is up to us to keep intact the freedoms we inherited from our parents and to pass them on securely to our children” (Ibid).