To Storm Or Not Storm The Beaches

Patrick McCorkle
2 min readJun 8, 2024


80 years ago, the D-Day invasion began the final phase of liberating Europe from Nazi Germany’s stranglehold. It’s hard to put into words how meaningful the sacrifice of the fallen means to me. The world could be drastically different if they didn’t storm the beaches of Normandy on June 6th, 1944. Germany would have still likely lost, but with a cost of far more Allied lives, increased Soviet domination of Europe or both.

In the past, I would mull over history and hypotheticals with my Grandpa Keith. We would consider what seemed like every scenario from every angle over bike rides, basement chats and restaurant meals.

Today, I no longer have that luxury. Grandpa Keith has been gone five years now and I miss our chats more than ever. He landed at Normandy when “the water was already red,” on June 8th or 9th.

Over three decades, he told me many times how he felt his service helped create a better world, one he wanted his children and grandchildren to live in.

Over three decades, he also showed me the costs of that fight. He grappled with demons 75 years after he shot his last bullet, never entirely obtaining the peace that he helped gift the world.

I’ve heard some political commentators doubting whether the younger generations could do what the so-called “Greatest Generation” did- help the Allies win WWII. They think that we’re much softer than our parents and grandparents.

In some ways, we are. And I think my grandpa and his peers would find comfort in that fact. As emphatic as my grandpa was in believing in the justness of WWII, he never wanted me, my sister or his other grandchildren to experience what he did. As tough and resilient as my grandpa was, he marveled at the strength of previous generations: the American Founding Fathers, the European explorers, Native American leaders, Romans, Greeks and so on. He wasn’t sure that he could thrive or even survive in those periods.

He frequently reminded me that each generation tends to think the ones that follow it are not as strong, smart, desirable or good. He frequently pointed out that the point of civilization was to develop and grow. A natural byproduct of this process is people becoming different due to technological, cultural or other developments.

Perhaps millennials and gen Zers couldn’t win a world war. But are we meant to? I think our calling is to ensure a WWIII never comes to pass, to create a better tomorrow like Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry envisioned.

Wouldn’t you rather prevent WWIII than fight it?

My grandpa would rather that. As would his generation.



Patrick McCorkle

I am a young professional with keen interests in politics, history, foreign languages and the arts.