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Guest Opinion: Memorial Day

I was just a baby when the bombs rained down on Pearl Harbor and our country had enough of the imperialists from Japan. For over four years from that day, we fought back across the Pacific and brought Japan to its knees, culminating in a total su...

I was just a baby when the bombs rained down on Pearl Harbor and our country had enough of the imperialists from Japan. For over four years from that day, we fought back across the Pacific and brought Japan to its knees, culminating in a total surrender on the decks of the battleship Missouri. Halfway around the globe from there, the U.S and it's Allies brought another tyrant, Adolf Hitler down to defeat and for a while at least it looked like we had achieved what could be a lasting peace.

But history tells us that for all practical purposes there will never be a lasting peace in this world. That power and greed are rampant in the minds of people and somewhere; somehow, they will draw their swords and start another skirmish. If all of the money that has been spent over the years for wars and militaries, could have been used for peaceful purposes and the good of the people whose taxes paid for it, life would be good on this planet. But yet we realize that the best offense is a strong defense and the rest of world is not going to let you live peacefully in your little corner of the world no matter how hard you want it.

Today the world is a powder keg with trouble spots all over the globe. Things are so far out of control there doesn't seem to be any plan to deal with any of them. It is so reminiscent of the way the world was before World War II. Our country, which was perceived to be the world's conquerer over evil at the end of that great war, has now been reduced to somewhat of a paper tiger. Our government has squandered most of its hard won credibility, home and abroad.

On this Memorial Day we honor those who gave their lives for our freedom. They died for their country doing what they were asked to do. Their patriotism is beyond approach. Yet, though they brought those great battles to a victorious conclusion, we're far from over. For you see, someone needed to maintain that peace. It's like changing oil in your car or keeping a fresh coat of paint of the house. You prolong their lives and when you don't sit on your laurels but keep working at it every day, you prolong the peace. I quote from the poem "In Flanders Fields,"

"Take up our quarrel with the foe: to you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high, if ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields."

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We don't just deserve to honor our peacemakers on Memorial Day, we need to carry on and maintain the status quo, or what these brave warrior's accomplished, becomes for naught and in some ways that would be a bigger shame then losing it in the first place, because they handed us a clear cut victory and we frittered it away. Winning the battle was the hard part and keeping the peace was the easier part but so far we have proven not to be up to that task. For that very reason we may lose all that was accomplished, and yes, break faith with those who died for our country.

Mike Holst is an author and resident of Crosslake.

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