The men who landed with my great uncle Everett Peterson on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 still remember their friends and that day vividly. That’s the magic of Google – a reporter talks to a few vets in Rhode Island and Connecticut and I can hear the words and see the photos of some of the friends of a relative I never knew.
Prompting this search, other than the holiday observances, was my six-year-old son taking a book detailing some of our family history to school for show and tell this morning. A creation of my late Grandmother Doris Greenleaf, an early female journalist and accomplished writer, one section deals with her brother’s death after landing in an LST on D-Day. He was spotting artillery within moments of landing, lifted his head up over a dune, and lost his life when a shell detonated near him.
It’s a story many families in our country and state share but is no less worth telling. Everett’s sacrifice and the sacrifice of so many others over the years is not something to forget. I certainly won’t and I’m lucky enough to be able to pass on his story to the youngest members of our clan.
What does this have to do with policy and politics in North Carolina? I’d like to think that free and open debate about how we can make government work for us on things we care about comes in many ways directly from Everett and countless others. Of course, “free and open” doesn’t necessarily mean “comprehensible and relevant,” but we can only try. I for one am happy to have the opportunity.
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