The day before the Normandy landings, General Eisenhower made the following announcement: "Soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the allied expeditionary force: you are about to embark upon a great crusade toward which we have spent these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you." Twenty years later he stated, "These people gave us a chance to do better. Every time I come back here to these beaches and any day I think about that day, I say once more: we must find some way to gain an eternal peace for this world" (listen to Walter Cronkite's interview with Eisenhower here).
My time at the Allied military headquarters in Mons hasn't exactly helped me avoid my preoccupation with war. Last weekend, I spent a day on the northern shores of France, walking the beaches of Normandy and remembering the 160,000 soldiers who were part of the largest amphibious invasion in world history on June 6, 1944. It was an overwhelming experience. "If you think the world is rotten go to the cemetery of St. Laurent on the hill overlooking the beach. See what one group of men did for another on DDay June 6, 1944" (Andy Rooney).
More photos from Normandy here.