In Gratitude

Seventy-eight years ago today, a crucial battle of World War Two began on the northern shores of France. It’s known as D-Day–and was code named Overlord in its meticulously planned execution. A conservative estimate of Allied and German fatalities is 10,000 on that first day. Many more combatants would die before Allied forces liberated Western Europe in late August 1944. Clearly, the ginormous–a word that derived from military slang during WWII–undertaking and success of Overlord was the beginning of the end of end of Hitler’s dreams of a so-called “thousand-year reich”. It is hard to imagine what the consequences of D-Day failing–and the Allies ultimately having to surrender to Germany and Japan–would have been. Would I be here to write this blog post? Would you be around to read it? Such speculations may seem an unneeded concern. However, WWII was a war to save democracy from fascism. Nothing less.

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While the Allies stopped the maniacal intents of the Axis powers, and indeed protected the free world from subjugation by tyrants, one need only pay even slight attention to the geo-political developments of the past several years alone. Hungary, Turkey, Egypt, the Phillipines, India, Cambodia, China and certainly Russia all have autocratic rule in place. In the U.S. we got a taste of what an autocrat in the White House could do to our democratic values. His failed re-election bid was a sigh of relief, but fascist-leaning legislators control many of our statehouses and local governing bodies. The autocrat was shown the door in the 2020 election, but we are still under attack, Ask people of color. Ask any woman. Ask a teacher.**********************

The question becomes whether or not there is enough collective courage to personally and politically resist fascist wannabees before the only way to defeat them is to have to spill a lot of blood to get the job done–again. Maybe that course is already inevitable. I’m not sure we have any generation like that which fought the Second World War, though. Perhaps the real consequence of the Allied victory wasn’t to rid the world of fascism, but only to buy humanity four or five decades before it reared its ugly face again.Orwell warned us, no? But even then, Allied fighters made the world a better, safer place than otherwise would ever have been possible for a few generations to enjoy–if not ever truly understanding in whose debt they are for such safety and freedom.

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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