Fearless Dream

reflections of a pragmatic optimist, lover of freedom

Category: World War II (page 2 of 4)

Plzeň Remembers

This coming Sunday, May 6th, marks the 67th anniversary of the liberation of the Czech town of Plzeň by the United States Army. As you can see here, Plzeň hasn’t forgotten. Nor should we.

Every 5 years, Pilsen conducts the Liberation Celebration of the City of Pilsen in the Czech Republic . May 6th, 2010, marked the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Pilsen by General George Patton’s 3rd Army. Pilsen is the town that every American should visit. Because they love America and the American Soldier…

Photo of 'Thank You America' Liberation Monument in Plzen

Between Czech roots (my mother’s parents), memories of a 1985 visit to Plzeň, and gratitude for our veterans, the story especially touches me. It made the email rounds about a year and a half ago, so many of you are likely to have seen it already, but for any who haven’t yet, I feel inclined to pass the link along. (If that copy ever goes away, the story can also be found here, here, and here.)

Don’t miss the included story of Zdenka Sladkova, 79, who for 67 years has tended a memorial at the crash site of a KIA 20-year-old pilot Lt. Virgil P. Kirkham. She was only 14 years old when his P-47 crashed near her home town of Trhanova.

The prevailing conventional wisdom is that we’re short on friends in this world. Don’t believe it. At least not when it comes to the kinds of friends who matter most. My heartfelt thanks to our enduring friends in Plzeň and the Czech Republic.

Memorial Day 2010

Last Year, I posted a collection of quotes and musical selections. I still treasure these as among the most fitting and moving I have encountered, so I’ve copied them again below.

My new discovery for this year: The Arlington Ladies. Never heard of them? I hadn’t either. You can, and by all means should, read all about them here. (Thanks to Twitter friends Allahpundit and Cubanita for pointing out this story.) May the moving example of the Arlington Ladies’ respect and devotion stir each of us to do what we can.

I live each day in the humbling knowledge that I am made and kept free by the exertions of better men and women than myself, a debt I will never be able to fully repay. Let us give due regard this Memorial Day to those who gave the last full measure of devotion, that we might live the lives of the free.


Listening:

from Oscar Peterson, Night Train: “Hymn to Freedom”

from Dave Brubeck, Private Brubeck Remembers: “Don’t Worry ‘bout Me”, “We Crossed the Rhine”, “For All We Know”

from Five for Fighting, Two Lights: “Two Lights”

Quotes:

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” — General George S. Patton, Jr.

“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” — Sir Winston Churchill / George Orwell †

“We fight wars not to have peace, but to have a peace worth having. Slavery is peace. Tyranny is peace. For that matter, genocide is peace when you get right down to it. The historical consequences of a philosophy predicated on the notion of no war at any cost are families flying to the Super Bowl accompanied by three or four trusted slaves and a Europe devoid of a single living Jew.” — Bill Whittle, “History”

“To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” — George Washington

“War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” — John Stuart Mill

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
John F. Kennedy

“We can’t share the earth with pure evil anymore than we can share the earth with smallpox.” — David Gelernter

“Evil must be confronted in its womb and, if it can’t be done otherwise, then it has to be dealt with by the use of force.” — Vaclav Havel

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” — Edmund Burke

“The front line now, at this critical time, is in the hearts and minds of our own people. That’s where the real battle is now. That is our weakest point, our breach, our point of failure. We have not made the case to enough people and time is running out.

So maybe now, at this absurd point in this new kind of war, we’re the crack troops, we old and useless pajama patriots reduced to printing up pamphlets to sell war bonds to the weary, to make the case for holding on to an unglamorous, uninspiring, relentless grind because that — not Normandy and Midway — is the face of war in this gilded age of luxury and safety and plenty.” — Bill Whittle, “Deterrence”

“We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down.” — Sir Winston Churchill

† The “rough men stand ready” quote is frequently attributed to both Winston Churchill and George Orwell in various forms. It is a beautifully focused statement, whatever its true origin.

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