Never stop fighting for freedom

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 12, 2010

I ate a snail. Walked through Versailles. Viewed Napoleon’s tomb. Window shopped down the Champs-Elysees. Strolled through the gardens of Luxembourg. And viewed the city of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower. The week spent in France provided memories for a lifetime.

Traveling is not always easy, and things don’t always go as planned, but traveling with my fun-loving, easygoing, always optimistic sister-in-law, Vicki, made the trip a breeze. Also along on the adventure were Vicki’s son, Jai, and his two daughters, Destiny and Sydney. Jeremy, Vicki’s other son, and his wife, Deborah, completed our travel group of seven excited tourists.

Jai’s love for his girls was demonstrated daily through his patient attentiveness to their needs and constant desire for them to maximize their experiences. Jeremy’s calm demeanor and appreciation of history reminded me so much of my own son, Geoffrey, and getting to know Deborah, the newest member of the Michel clan, was a highlight of my trip. Jai and Jeremy are excellent navigational guides, and I realized just how good they were when Vicki and I tried to use the city’s transportation system to return to our apartment. After many failed attempts, we hesitated only momentarily before hopping into a taxi.

Although we experienced many wonderful moments while in France, I have to agree with 11-year-old Destiny that my favorite part of the trip was the day we spent in Normandy. Sixty-six years after the Allied forces invaded this territory held by Germany, we had the incredible opportunity to roam freely through the area still marked by craters caused by the assaults and concrete bunkers built by the enemy.

As I walked along the cliff on a sunny day, cooled by the gentle breeze from the Channel, only the occasional chirping bird interrupted the silence. But this serenity could not mask the images filling my mind as I imagined that day not so long ago. The enemy’s best attempts to invade and destroy freedom were swept away by young men who dared to scale the steep cliffs and take back the land. With every step I took, I thought of the ones who breathed their last breaths and left their last drops of blood on this foreign soil so that one day, I might stand in freedom. Their futures were sacrificed for mine. About that time, I met 6-year-old Sydney, who had stooped to pick one of three small yellow flowers daring to bloom on the edge of one of the craters. And I smiled. And I thanked God for the blessing of freedom and for the men and women who continue to unselfishly serve to defend it.

Suddenly, as I stood on the shores of Normandy, 4,000

miles away from my children, years away from my grandchildren and future generations

I may never see, I was filled with an indescribable yearning to continue the spiritual fight for their futures. The battle rages as satan, the enemy of our souls, fights to steal, kill and destroy our families. I desperately want my family, and yours, to always walk in the freedom and the abundant life available through Jesus. And I am determined to continue in prayer.

Ronny may be reached at