Greatest Generation: Courage and Loyalty Beat Fear

I was finishing up breakfast in town when I overheard one WWII veteran tell another WWII veteran to put his money away because he'd already picked up his check.  When the man in line to pay protested, his friend said matter-of-factly, "You saved my life too many times.  I wouldn't have been here all these years if it weren't for you.  I owe you everything and certainly breakfast." 

I didn't know the gentlemen, and I don't know their story, but as a silent witness to the looks of tender understanding visible on both men's faces, I would say that those two soldiers had seen hell, and that for one of them, the last seventy-five years would not have come to pass but for the actions and/or sacrifices of his brother-in-arms.  That brief moment between the two was so powerful and personal that I felt a little like a thief for having been present.  I wasn't watching one man paying a debt, one breakfast at a time.  I was watching two men acknowledge with hardly a word a lifetime of mutual loyalty.  

Loyalty is in short supply these days.  

Those same men who still carry the scars of defending the United States against the global spread of totalitarianism have lived long enough to watch totalitarianism seep inside the country's borders under more innocuous names such as the "Green New Deal" and the "Great Reset."  They've lived long enough to go from being celebrated as part of the "Greatest Generation" for sacrificing so much during the '30s and '40s to being routinely demonized as "white supremacists" and "extremists" for insisting on respecting the National Anthem or demanding that the Constitution not be abused and that the Declaration of Independence not be betrayed.  They're called "selfish" for believing that a man's worth, like a man's character, is reflected in what he is able to create and not in whom he is willing to blame.  They're called "bigots" or "nativists" for believing that American communities economically destroyed by NAFTA and offshore manufacturing should be brought back to health before inviting half the world to join those struggling towns in poverty.  They're called "expendable" because a new generation of American socialists sees them as part of America's stubborn refusal to submit wholesale to Barack Obama's "fundamental transformation" of the country they fought to preserve.  And if all hell broke loose tomorrow because of a new global war or economic collapse, they are still the first Americans who would roll up their sleeves and volunteer to save the day once again.

The very countrymen we owe most as a nation are the ones the new socialists who have taken over the American government routinely treat with disdain.  We lose more and more of these old soldiers each day, and every time another passes, we have one fewer American who truly understands the price for freedom or the pricelessness of unbreakable loyalty.  

However, when we choose to learn from those who have sacrificed everything in defense of our freedoms, when we acknowledge and cherish our history, when we make sure America's past is not forgotten or graffitied over by new Marxist lies, then nothing the political left does to hurt us today can last.  The tyrannical impulse that has taken over the Democratic Party completely and carried over so much of the Old Guard Republican leadership with it can continue its assault on election legitimacy, its transformation of the criminal justice system into the political persecution wing of the one-party state, and its abusive use of the national security infrastructure as a weapon for targeting citizens—but it cannot win over hearts and minds by replacing the "American spirit" with fear.  

Wherever fear becomes the chief tool of a government, then small acts of courage become intolerable to those in power.  And when enough small acts of courage are directed with purpose, then tyranny withers.  Among the many legacies left to us by the "Greatest Generation," surely it is that lesson that strikes closest to home today. 

Fear is a liar and plots with your enemies.  Two complementary lessons emerge from this truth: (1) if you are in doubt as to who your enemies are, look for the people telling you to be afraid, and (2) if you can control your fear, then you have the power to weaken your enemies. 

Why is this important to remember?  Because every day you open your eyes, you have a choice between strengthening and weakening those who wish you harm by deciding whether to let fear win.  That's your choice.  No tinpot dictator or bureaucratic stooge chooses for you.  Every single day, you can choose to resist simply by choosing not to be afraid.

No government has ever pushed an agenda of fear in order to limit its own power.  No government has ever insisted on people hiding from danger in order to beat it back.  Free peoples encourage each other to be strong and brave; to sacrifice for each other; and, no matter what, to keep fighting.  

When I looked at those two WWII soldiers who had clearly fought the good fight side by side, I remembered why those who wish to control us are ultimately going to lose.  It is because seeing courage inspires courage.  Peddling fear succeeds only when everyone is afraid.  As soon as one person stands up, more people stand up, too.  Like one lit candle lighting another and another until the fire can be seen from a distance, courage grows until it rages beyond anything that can be contained.  Those of us who remember America's past already know this.  Those who have forgotten America's past are in for a surprise.

Image: Pashi via Pixabay, Pixabay License.

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