TNB Night Owl – The Meaning Of Memorial Day, 2022

Alison Malachowski tends to the grave of her son, U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. James Malachowski, in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, July 22, 2015.

Another year has quickly gone by since last Memorial Day. Once again, flags and flowers have been placed on the graves of the fallen. Once again, it’s time for somber reflection on the meaning of the day, to remember those who gave all and, most importantly, why they gave all.

This year is different than most that we’ve observed in recent memory: we have a rare opportunity to see sacrifice from a different perspective. An unjust and unprovoked war is raging overseas that involves not American servicemen and women, but soldiers of a small and poor country that only wishes to fully embrace freedom and democracy.

There have always been autocrats, tyrants, and narcissists. History knows them well. They are small, insecure bullies who want complete power over others just to prop up their fragile egos. That’s all they are and all they have ever been. These ‘strongmen’ manipulate their populace (and foreign useful idiots) with patriotic speeches and propaganda in order to retain power at any cost. If possible, they would seize more power through conquest of weaker neighbors (although never neighbors perceived to be stronger).

The parallels between the current war in Ukraine and the Second World War are unmistakable. At the beginning of that earlier war, two powerful totalitarian forces ruthlessly carved up Poland. Despite valiant efforts by Polish defenders, the Nazis and Soviets stole their lands and treated the defeated Poles heinously.

For the past three months, the Russian military has been doing much the same to Ukraine as the Soviet army did to Poland and, later, to Nazi Germany. Their actions have been savage, barbaric, and unlawful. The Ukrainians have stood up admirably against the larger and better-armed force, but fighting for their nation’s survival has come at a very high price. Many Ukrainians, both military and civilian, have paid with the greatest sacrifice: their lives.

Seeing firsthand the sacrifices Ukrainians make for the freedom and democracy that we often take for granted, it’s easy to appreciate what the many American servicemen and women of the past have done for us. They gave all so that we would never be threatened by a petty tyrant commanding a sadistic war machine.

Until war is truly a thing of our primitive past, and humans no longer have to die for the rights of freedom and self-determination, we will need a strong military and courageous military men and women to step into the breach on our behalf. And we will need to be grateful. Remembering the costs once a year is not too much to ask of a nation.

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About Richard Doud 606 Articles
Learning is a life-long endeavor. Never stop learning. No one is right all the time. No one is wrong all the time. No exceptions to these rules.