The stories of commitment and courage amid the chaos and terror of D-Day seem at least as relevant today as they were in 1944. Of course that comes as no surprise. War, in all of its horror, is a powerful laboratory. Whether we ever learn any of the resultant lessons remains an open question.

During my years at the Center I have spent moments now and then thinking about the fundamental difference between life as a soldier and life as a civilian. I have concluded that there is only one. Television and newspaper stories over past weeks describing landings on and behind the Normandy beaches clearly describe that difference. Soldiers are expected to die if necessary to accomplish the task at hand. Civilian commitment ...

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