Image courtesy of the United States Department of Defense
Lost among our grief for losing our beloved Coach, today marked a somber day in the history of mankind. Today, June 6, is a day that Coach would want us to honor: it marks the anniversary of D-Day, when thousands of young men, from across the globe, landed in France to free Europe from Nazi oppression, only to never return home again.
Coach has not only joined Nellie, but has been reunited with many of his fallen friends and brothers-in-arms. It is fitting, that today, we not only remember those who gave the last full measure of devotion for a free world on the shores of Normandy, but we remember a part of Coach's life we rarely hear about: the service of Navy Lieutenant John R. Wooden.
Coach, like many of his fellow Americans, put his life on hold, leaving behind coaching, teaching, and Nell, to answer his nation's call to duty. And not only did he just serve, but he continued to serve until peace was won and secured, not leaving the Navy until 1946. Of course, Coach wasn't a man of violence. I think it'd be hard for any of us to picture him picking up a rifle. But Coach served the best way he could: by educating young sailors in physical fitness, preparing them for the rigor of war.
Coach was a great man in many ways. We should be proud that a man who was not only a wonderful servant to our alma mater, but a dutiful servant to the republic, graced Westwood.