Thoughts by Richard Bleil
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This may read a little bit whacky. I was off on my dates when I wrote this, so I thought that yesterday’s post was on the anniversary of D-Day, but today is D-Day. So…happy D-Day!
It’s an odd thing. My posts are about a week ahead of schedule. If all goes as planned, yesterday’s blog was about the Renaissance fair with a little plug for my Pampered Chef launch party that should still be going on now. But yesterday was an important day in American History, and today, as I write this, is actually Memorial day. June 6, 1944, was D-Day, the launch of the operation of American, British and Canadian troops to land and on Normandy Beach in Nazi Occupied France to gain a foothold for the Americans to join the second war to end all wars. By the end of the day, there were over 4,000 American casualties, and over 150,000 troops had successfully landed.
By June 7, the fighting continued. The beaches were not fully secured until about a week later. By the end of the operation, over 300,000 troops had landed, along with 50,000 vehicles and 100,000 tons of equipment. The second war to end all wars (yes, I say that ironically) lasted for over five years. D-Day marked the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. The coalition of nations pushed back against Nazi aggression, while today we have people trying to revive the fascist movement here in the United States in the name of “freedom”.
After the first war to end all wars, a defeated Germany was under severe restrictions limiting their military to a token force for self-defense, and economic struggles that resulted in inflation that was so bad that it took a basket of Deutschemarks to buy a loaf of bread. There were reports, although they may be apocryphal, of thieves dumping out money to steal the baskets themselves. National pride in Germany was shattered when a young corporal named Adolf Hitler from the German Army published his book, Mein Kampf, from prison. The book laid bare his plans of world conquest based on hate.
Much like the modern Nazi movement, Hitler’s plan was based on inciting nationalistic pride by villainizing the Jewish people. Having a group to focus hate on, it’s easier to lead them into atrocities and world conquest. Today’s Nazi movement is no different. As I write this, Texas has been delayed in passing the nations most restrictive voter suppression laws targeting minorities. Those same people who are fighting so hard to suppress the votes they believe will keep them out of power are also largely behind the increased violence against Asians and Jewish People. These same “patriots” have been discovered infiltrating BLM protests specifically to turn them violent and cause destruction to incite further violence against minorities, and stormed the US Capital to prevent the peaceful transition to the rightfully elected president and perhaps overturn the Constitution. And yet these are the people claiming to be American Patriots.
We cannot let down our guard. The enemy comes from within as well as outside. Anyone who would want to destroy America and what it stands for, even when claiming to be American, are our enemies even if they are our neighbors. Free speech must be protected although the former president did his best to squelch it in the press, a guarantee of the first amendment, but at the same time we cannot stand by as the US Constitution is threatened. With thousands of fallen heroes in the Normandy operation, and hundreds of thousands of fallen heroes in US operations throughout history, the actions of these individuals is a stain on their memories and insult to that for which they fought.
In a quote often attributed to Plato (although not verified), he said “[o]nly the dead have seen the end of war.” This is a sobering thought, to think that as long as man exists, there will be armed conflict. I’ve written before, and stand by it today, that war is the result of failed politics. The diplomacy of the 1930’s was one of capitulation, literally giving in to Germany’s desires in the hopes that the conflict would not turn violent. It was so bad, in fact, that even Poland was given up as a sacrifice for peace, a sacrifice that was even less effective than virgin sacrifices for rain since they only served to further Hitler’s desire for more. The reality is that we cannot hope to appease hatred. Fascists will always be fascists, even when draped in the American flag. To give up on violence and hatred is to make the sacrifices of our fallen for naught. There are words that sound good in our ears, words like freedom, patriotism, and Constitutionality, but they must be coupled with actions that align with what we stand for or they are a mere subterfuge.