As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its fourth month, the world has witnessed barbarity and military aggression that we once believed was a relic of the old way of doing things in the modern industrialized world.
Non-military structures have been bombarded and destroyed with rockets, Ukrainian civilians have been carted off en masse and in some instances executed, and the forced taking of a sovereign nation’s territory has continued, though in the face of heroic and determined resistance.
All of this is transpiring in the name of some absurd feigned insecurity by the Kremlin.
The war in Ukraine has provided us a reminder of Russian villainy of the past. Former Polish president Lech Walesa observed on a recent speaking tour in the US that Vladimir Putin is nothing more than the continuation of centuries’ of Russian leaders pursuing expansionism from the Soviet era and the time of the Tsars.
Historically, it’s what Russia does and always has done, something the people of Poland are all too aware.
Call it a family tradition, with only the flags and uniforms different.
And if 20th century Russia, Japan, and Germany have been defined by their wars of aggression, America’s identity during that same period is that of great liberator.
America fought two world wars and the multi decade Cold War by direct intervention and proxy, campaigns waged not to grow our borders or seize the lucrative resources of other countries but to liberate captive peoples.
And no date better encapsulates this spirit than June 6, 1944.
The scale and complexity of an operation utilizing the amphibious landing and airborne deployment of thousands of troops combined with the naval and air support remains the greatest feat in military history.
The image of soldiers huddled in Higgins landing craft with the seemingly insurmountable Atlantic Wall along the cliffs ahead of them is iconic.
America possessed not just the manpower and the materiel to pursue such an ambitious attack but the courage and ingenuity to press the landing to a successful outcome at Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, Pointe du Hoc, and other targets on the coast of Normandy.
An estimated 4,414 American servicemen died in the D-Day landings, with the only soil the United States continues to occupy from the incursion are the graves holding her servicemen.
Considering the vilification of so many of these representatives from the Greatest Generation by social influencers of today, an argument could be made that June 6 should be accorded some degree of holiday status to encourage today’s far more comfortable and judgmental society to reflect on the hardships and sacrifices made by every day Americans who accepted or volunteered to wear the uniform not just protect their country but to free millions of people from tyranny and genocide.
In a society increasingly transmogrified by moral relativism, customized “personal truth” to conform with the latest trending ideological trend, and national self-loathing, a rekindled emphasis of instances of America projecting its might not for the sake of its own greatness but for the benefit of the world would help turn the anti-history movement that has become en vogue over the past decade and a half.
Every nation and people on earth have sins.
Though only in the prosperous West do we go out of our way to engage in self-flagellation.
The world has been for the entirety of its existence a brutal place, with only the standards truly changing in the past two centuries, and even then disproportionately. Even today the value of human life fluctuates like currency on a place to place basis.
It’s a shame that so many people who are technologically adept (and ironically the most traveled) are completely oblivious to this reality.
The unjustified Russian invasion of Ukraine is a reminder that there is still evil in this world. June 6th is a reminder that there are heroes and that the United States has sent millions of them to the far corners of the globe to fight not for conquest but for peace.