Tuesday, June 2, 2009
As a history major, I feel I should be more aware of past and contemporary events. But I am always confusing the Hundred Years War with the War of 1812 with the French and Indian War, etc. However, I have two dates I always remember, without even trying: June 6th and July 3rd. June 6th marks the anniversary of D-day and July 3rd of the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg. But it's to June 6th that I want to blog. One of my favorite quotes by Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." I think was Burke means is that ball can and should always be in the court of the good. No movie, narrative or photo can make any of us understand what it feels like to step off the ramp of a boat to plunge into cold water holding a hundred pound of ammunition and gear, only to face a storm of oncoming enemy fire. In those moments, I can only imagine you don't think about anything. You just move. And I guess that's what inspires me about D-day and Gettysburg. These men were so disciplined they turned off all emotion of just moved forward. I remember learning in high school from Mr. Helsel, my history teacher, about a man who wrote in his journal the morning of Gettysburg: "Today, I died." How do you write that, close the book, put a piece of salt pork in your mouth, and then walk out into a field displaying more carnage than any other American war combined? But the men moved, and good, I believed triumphed. D-day and Gettysburg were terrible in the number of casualties, but I believe they saved the lives of countless others because of the objectives accomplished. Can you imagine what it must be like in the next life to sit down and talk with a soldier about his or her experiences in combat? I imagine may of these soldiers are or will become effective missionaries in the spirit world if they accept the Gospel. They, more than anyone, will testify of how the Atonement can redeem man's folly.
The above pic is me and Anna walking the beach at Caesarea. I don't think we'll ever be called to charge Normandy. But in a lot of ways, we can look to those who did charge and remember, sometimes the only good course of action is to keep moving. At the end of the summer, Anna and I will spend a week on the beaches of Balboa with her family. We have a summer of Boards studies and Nursing school before that. To study for the boards requires a 10 hour daily commitment for 6 straight weeks. I have a sweet little cannon that has a place reserved on my study desk to remind myself, in moments of doubt, that I need to keep moving. My good buddy Aaron up at BYU noticed how I barely mention life as a medical student on our blog. Well, I'll mention a little about the transition from second to third year. Each student must take, and pass, a national boards exam. If you don't pass, you can't proceed to your third-year clerkship. At any given moment in May or June, you can walk into a medical school's library and as you pass the study rooms you will find medical students studying flashcard, lectures, notes, and powerpoints from 7 am to 9pm. Each student will usually find his or her niche in the library, and by the end of the six weeks, I suspect there is enough dandruff, pulled-out hair, bitten finger nails, and soiled table tops to build a huge castle stronger than Camelot. So while it is not comparable to D-Day or Gettysburg in any philosophical or realistic view, the concept is the same, just keep moving. I can never complain. I have Balboa at the finish line.