There are some days when a column comes easy, when it just flows out in one straight series of fingers tapping on keys, a click on save, and calling it a day. Most days, in fact. Then there are other days when there are so many ideas, so many things you want to say, floating around in your head that the task of organizing them seems impossible. It’s Friday night, June 6th, the 70th anniversary of what I consider to be the most important day in modern history, and I have no idea what to write.
The idea of weighing in on a news issue of the week seems small today. The president’s regulatory power grab to destroy the coal industry, White House lies about an Army deserter, the latest depressing economic data, all of it pales in comparison to what those 150,000+ men willingly faced seven decades ago.
As I type this I’m drinking a glass of expensive single-malt scotch over a ball of ice and watching Band of Brothers. I’m normally a vodka drinker, having had an unfortunate night involving a girl, a party and mass quantities of whisky early in my underage drinking career. This came to involve punching my car door, breaking my hand, sneaking into bed only to discover the next morning that the Ace Bandage I’d wrapped it in the night before hadn’t “fixed” the problem, then having to ask my parents for the Blue Cross card because I’d “tripped over a dog” at a friend’s house. To make matters worse, my fiberglass cast smelled like what nature had forced me to purge 12 hours earlier, so I had a reminder of my stupidity wafting past my nose for six weeks.
I doubt my deception fooled my parents, but they were kind enough not to question it, having seen I’d suffered enough and would for the next month and a half.
After that I’d sworn off whisky. The smell was enough to make me nauseated. But years passed and, against my better judgment and many previous refusals of invitations, I was persuaded to try “the good stuff.” And it was good. It never occurred to me that all whisky didn’t taste like paint thinner, only the ones I could afford did.
Why am I telling you this? Because I can’t think of what to write. I want to write about D-Day, but nothing I could say would ever do justice to those amazing men and what they accomplished. What do you say about the men who ensured your ability to say it? How do you thank people for going through Hell so those who come after them don’t have to?
“Thank you” is the best our language has come up with, but truly fitting words have yet to be created.