Thoughts of Memorial Day, Freedom and Democracy

by | Jun 1, 2021 | Opinions

Stainless steel statues of US servicemen at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC. Photo by Brittany Colette

Thoughts of Memorial Day, Freedom and Democracy

by | Jun 1, 2021 | Opinions

Stainless steel statues of US servicemen at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC. Photo by Brittany Colette
We fought to free people. And while it wasn't pretty and we made some terrible mistakes, unimaginable mistakes that were destructive in ways that can never be and should never be forgotten, we did, at great sacrifice, make these freedoms happen.

I was thinking about my father yesterday. He served in a MASH unit in Korea and it really cost him, not his life at the time but he was beaten down by the ugliness of war. The enemy there was totalitarianism, I suppose, and many US soldiers lost their lives fighting to keep Korea free. Many others lost their lives as well.

You could say we had a large but limited success; South Korea would not likely exist today but for that sacrifice, that help. At least that seems to be the case. And I am proud of what my father did in that effort.

The wars we have fought on foreign soil, at least the big ones, all had that common thread: The growth of freedom, and a unified fight against dictatorships. We envisioned—regardless of what other aims our leaders might have had—that when the sacrifice was done, the people of that land would be freer, more capable of determining their own destinies, able to have Democratic institutions and the rule of law rather than the rule of a totalitarian regime, whether that regime was Fascist in nature or in some other form.

We fought to free people. And while it wasn’t pretty and we made some terrible mistakes, unimaginable mistakes that were destructive in ways that can never be and should never be forgotten, we did, at great sacrifice, make these freedoms happen. Europe, Japan and many other countries would live in an unimaginable world but for our intervention, our help. We succeeded in making the world greater.

And this is the legacy of that sacrifice, the sacrifice of my father and all our forebears who stood up and tried to make the world a little be better. This is why we remember, because they fought, survived and died in a just cause. To make others free and to keep us free.

So…

Why do so many in our nation now fight to limit the freedom of our people right here? How does that make us better? How does that make us greater? How does eroding trust in our very soul benefit us as a people, make us more free?

Disagreement is one thing but if the price of winning that argument is the destruction of our country and the rise of a country ruled by One, by a person and not a system of laws that protect the lowliest of us, is that price worth it?

I do not see how it can be worth the price and how those who are refusing to look at the very heart of the problem can do so.

The only level I can understand, a sad justification, is that low level that exists only because of the limits deliberately imposed on data and truth. The level of propaganda and the fact that we are being manipulated by clever enemies that yearn for our destruction and have found our weakness in our strength.

They have discovered that our desire to help others can be perverted and controlled. They have discovered that our internal differences can be amplified to such a point that we are no longer one people, but two. They are creating a Civil War.

I feel that we are again at war, right this minute, but now we are not seeing our true enemy. Dust has been thrown in our eyes and we are flailing wildly at ourselves when there is a foreign despot singing a siren’s song and leading us off a cliff.

This grand experiment has given us a chance. Let’s not blow it.

Peter Kjenaas

Peter Kjenaas

Peter Kjenaas is an author, screenwriter, theater director, producer, chef, AirBnB host, parent and caregiver extraordinaire. And now he adds travel writer to his resumé as he sets off across the country in a 1971 VW camper bus. But first and foremost he is a caring and productive human who has graciously allowed us to post some of his writings to this site. See his latest book at PeterKjenaas.com, and his travel adventures at Riders on the Storm Bus.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Sep 23 2022

Why the Far Right Hates History Lessons

Their fear and loathing of history lessons in schools has far-right Nazis either running for local offices on school boards or backing those they see as malleable...
Statue of Liberty, New Y
Sep 20 2022

November 8th — The One Day to Save America

You aren’t being ask to bleed or to kill or to die in order to honor your forebears and to steward the nation entrusted to you—you’re just being asked to give a damn...
Sep 18 2022

Fox News and the Religious Right Are Brainwashing the People I Love

This is what happens when decent, intelligent people become radicalized: they get polluted by the things they watch on FOX News nd the nonsense they read until one day...
Sep 17 2022

Rick Scott’s Epic Failure for the GOP: Squandered Millions, Crappy Candidates and PR Gaffs

Has Rick Scott tanked the GOP’s chances in the Midterms? Probably. He’s squandering of the majority of their funds, selected ridiculous candidates and...
Sep 14 2022

The Return of The Handmaid’s Tale, Just in Time for the Midterms

The Handmaid’s Tale is a work of fiction. But fictions can give rise to imaginings that can become the kind of future horror the show describes, if we allow...
man in black shirt and pants holding black dslr camera
Sep 09 2022

The “Law and Order” GOP Has Become the Professional Victims Unit

The posturing outrage of the former guy tells us a lot more than the fact that he’s pissed about the FBI taking away his secrete document stash. It tells us that...
man wearing brown jacket sitting near gray link fence
Sep 07 2022

America’s Young Men Deserve Better Than MAGA’s Toxic Masculinity

We should be sick to our stomachs right now, watching an entire political party dismantling the rights of women and realizing how poisonous this all is to the hearts...
Sep 05 2022

Post Roe: Women Forced to Give Birth Should Be Paid for Their Labor

With Roe gone, if state governments intend to forcibly rescind the human right to an abortion and invite the personal economic disadvantages that will follow, they must...
Sep 04 2022

The ‘Cut and Paste’ Ideology of Zombie Conformists

Modern conservatism extols rugged individualism while fashioning a mob of abject conformists who stick like iron filings to the mutterings of their icons.
Aug 29 2022

Salman Rushdie and the Use of Violence to Silence Free Speech

The the onstage stabbing of author Salman Rushdie at a venerable cultural venue in upstate New York is a grim reminder of the need for eternal vigilance in defending...
Subscribe for Updates!

Subscribe for Updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This