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A firefighter’s reflections on D-Day

The world of nations’ collaboration to protect freedom thrives nearly 80 years later


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Through journaled and unwritten stories of brotherhood, fear and heroism, we stand in umbrage. The shores and fields of Normandy are a tribute to the men and women who gave their lives, their futures, so that the generations of the grateful and ungrateful alike will have the opportunity to fill a book with life’s pages. Their pages will carry imaginative words of inspiration, drama, comedy, love and more. The spirit of the men whose heels, limbs and faces touched the sands and muds of Normandy will not share the same life’s journey.

So how do I offer what I can to their legacy? What can I pay forward for their spirit, their souls? Is it just the visit to the historical places of yesteryear or the reflection of sacrifice?

We have a duty, by all means, to prevent malevolent gestures from entering our psyche. The distortion of thought, like a cancer grows. Pain and suffering impact not only the physical being, but the true fabric of life. The collective family of values must reemerge to survive. Let us not have past generations’ trouble. Their families’ sacrifices must not be in vain. Souls left on distant lands must not look down and weep from the heavens at humanity’s failures.

Misaligned threads of fabric can be left in the quilt, but at some point must be corrected. The error may invoke a closer examination of man’s tapestry and in the end remove the intended beauty and elegance. Also important to note, it is not necessary to weaken the beautiful colorful weave. The innocence of a child’s smile must glow in a parent’s reflection. The glow and the quilt of the past should warm the child all the days of their lives.

We are at that point in time to correct the course. The shores and fields of Normandy will not smell, see and feel the blood of future wars. But the stain of misaligned values will undoubtedly mar landscapes of the world and future generations yet to come. But we owe it to the past, present and future to thwart the dangers.

Take time to reflect and consider your role in society. What can you do to sew a pattern of hope into your life and tomorrow’s future? Keep faith and warmth in your life’s journey and legacy.

The world of nations’ collaboration to protect freedom thrives nearly 80 years later. The true memorial is in these words and in the footprints of life.

Omaha Beach D-Day Memorial

Memorial on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, commemorating the D-Day battle in World War II.

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Joe Minogue serves as the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation liaison to the FDNY and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. He is a New York State NFFF Lead Advocate in Nassau and Suffolk counties and serves as the Stair Climb coordinator for the National Stair Climb in New York City. Minogue has been an active participant in the development and/or delivery of Stress First Aid, Curbside Manner, After Action Review, Courage To Be Safe (CTBS) and the Leadership, Accountability, Culture, and Knowledge (LACK) courses. Minogue is a retired lieutenant from the FDNY. He started his FDNY career in Engine 289 and worked in Ladder 153 and Engine 229. After the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, Minogue became one of the FDNY Buglers. Shortly after his promotion to lieutenant, Minogue was made the commanding officer for the FDNY Ceremonial Unit. He was also field lieutenant in Brooklyn Engine Company 290 and Ladder Company 103.