June 6, 2012 — 68 years after D-Day, when a wave of heroes stormed Normandy on the way to nailing the Nazis.
Among the American stars was Creighton Abrams, whose tanks rolled through France toward Germany years before he commanded the Vietnam drawdown. It's a story Scott Smith captures solidly for Investor's Business Daily and for which I had the honor to edit.
Abrams was the kind of soldier President Reagan lauded in his "Boys of Pointe du Hoc" speech on D-Day's 40th anniversary. I watched in awe as Reagan delivered Peggy Noonan's line on that Hoc cliff after Secret Service agents cleared the Pointe for the president's chopper landing. They did it smoothly, even making Walter Cronkite traipse through airport machines.
Twenty-eight years after that 1984 R-Day — Reagan Day — I recall it as one of the grandest of my life. It felt so special when I related it to my Dad, Charles Dickens Fox, himself a Bronze Star recipient from the WWII European front. He loved reliving history, as when we hit Bastogne, Belgium, ground zero of the Battle of the Bulge, and drove to Luxembourg's cemetery, the resting spot of Gen. George Patton, who died in Heidelberg so sadly after a paralyzing car crash just months beyond his Hitler-crushing triumph.
So now D-Day 2012. This time the crisis is personal. My wife, Maria, is having heart surgery. I'm at the hospital awaiting good news. And thinking of good times.
One of the finest involves another top soldier and great American: Bob Wicker (swinging above at his favorite venue, the golf course).
Bob was my sports editor at Stars & Stripes in Germany in the 1980s and '90s. Before that he was a GI with the sweetest job of all time: S&S reporter in Paris.
Now he lives near Reno, Nev., and I hope to see him in Vegas at a Stripes reunion in the fall.
Bob is pillar. He was a rock of a newspaperman, solidified with creativity and integrity. Think NCIS' Gibbs with a laugh. Or new TV badass Longmire without a gun.
Now Bob is a semiretired husband (to a champion wife, Kathy) and father (to a titlist son, Thomas) whom all of his old sportswriters — Bob Dillier, Tim Boivin, Rob Staggenborg, Tom Saunders, Rusty Bryan, Klint Johnson, Ben Abrams — revere to this day.
Cool thoughts on D-Day, which lives forever. And now that my wife is safely out of surgery, it's even more reason for me to celebrate.
Bucky Fox is an author and editor in Southern California.