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Letter: Memorial Day means freedom

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By The Staff

On two occasions in the course of human history, freedom hung in the balance. Once in Greece, well over 2,000 years ago and once again in 1940. In 430 B.C., the Greek statesman Pericles wrote an opinion about the Greek Constitution that could have come straight from the U.S. Supreme court. A people that sophisticated would never give up their way of life nor abandon their fierce love of freedom. At Thermopylae and Marathon they stood firm and saved democracy against the mightiest invader of that time. In the narrow pass at Thermopylae, 300 held their ground for three days against 150,000 Persians. None survived, but in the final analysis the delay helped secure the freedom we enjoy today. This month of May, we remember and owe thanks to those whom Tom Brokow called the Greatest Generation. When Europe was plunged back into the Dark Ages, the young men and women sailed out from American ports across the oceans. Young men who had played ball in neighborhood lots, now fought battle hardened foes in mosquito infested swamps or frozen forests in the Ardennes. Young women from the Women Air Corps, flew bombers straight out of the factories to the front lines. A newspaper wrote once : If you are passing some grey-haired old man slowly walking in the street, reflect then, that some 60 years ago he stormed the blood-soaked beaches at Normandy or Iwo Jima. In 1945, at war’s end, liberated from a concentration camp, a well-known author was flown over to America.  As the plane circled over the brightly lighted canyons of Manhattan, tears ran across his face, for here was one place where the lights had not gone out. What is freedom: “When you hear a knock on your door at 5 o’clock  in the morning, and you know it is the milkman and not the Secret Police.” — Winston S. Churchill. Henri VanderKolk Las Vegas