Peggy Noonan pens a column for the 4th of July.
John went on to landings in Marseilles, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. After he came home, he went on to chair Goldman Sachs, work in Ronald Reagan's State Department, and head great organizations such as the International Rescue Committee. He is, in that beautiful old phrase, a public citizen.
But if you asked him today his greatest moment, he'd say that day on the beach, when he was alive and grateful for it. "At that moment, dead tired, soaked to the skin, I would not have wanted to be anywhere else in the world."
It is silly to think one generation is "better" than another. No one born in 1920 is, by virtue of that fact, better than someone born in 1960. But it is true that each era has a certain mood, certain assumptions—in John's era, sacrifice—and each generation distinguishes itself in time, or doesn't. John's did. He himself did. And what better day than today to say: Thanks, John.