Music and the Spoken Word: ‘Worth a sacrifice’

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This will be given Nov. 10, 2019. 

At this solemn site, the Normandy American Cemetery in France, more than 9,300 American soldiers are laid to rest. The architecture here, the exhibits and the peaceful surroundings are all designed to pay tribute to their sacrifice. Most of the soldiers buried here died during the invasion of Normandy that began on June 6, 1944 — better known as D-Day.

On that fateful day, 156,000 Allied troops — American, British and Canadian — launched one of the largest military campaigns in modern history. The attack had a bold objective: to storm 50 miles of beaches in German-occupied France and, eventually, liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny.

Much has been written and said about D-Day over the years. But perhaps the most meaningful words come from those who experienced it — the soldiers who charged across the beaches and pushed their way up the steep bluffs amid enemy fire.

A young woman visits headstones of World War II soldiers prior to a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, Thursday, June 6, 2019. (David Vincent, Associated Press)
A young woman visits headstones of World War II soldiers prior to a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, Thursday, June 6, 2019. (David Vincent, Associated Press) Credit: David Vincent, Associated Press

One of these was 25-year-old 2nd Lt. Jack Lundberg. Sensing the danger of the invasion he was about to participate in, he wrote to his family that his chances of returning were “quite slim.” “I want you to know,” he said, “how much I love each of you. You mean everything to me and it is the realization of your love that gives me the courage to continue.” He found further strength, he wrote, in the feeling “that in some small way I am helping to bring this wasteful war to a conclusion” (see “War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars ” edited by Andrew Carroll, published in 2001, page 245).

He was right. D-Day turned out to be the turning point of the war. But he was also right about his chances of coming home. Just days later, Lundberg was killed in combat in Abbeville. His family could have brought his body home, but they chose to have him buried with his fellow soldiers here in Normandy, France.

Nothing prepares you for this sight of countless graves of soldiers — some identified, others unknown. Row by row, each small monument speaks of the valor, the selfless spirit and the bravery of all our veterans who have stood strong in war, representing a grateful nation. Lt. Lundberg said it well when he wrote, as recorded in “War Letters”: “We of the United States have something to fight for. … The U.S.A. is worth a sacrifice!”

Tuning in …

The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM, ksl.com, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, Dish and DirectTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), the tabernaclechoir.orgyoutube.com/TheTabernacleChoiratTempleSquare and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.org/schedules