Reader Opinion: For democracy


The must-see movie “Midway,” grippingly depicting a momentous World War II American victory, was the subject of a recent opinion letter applauding that outcome as an exclusive product of “conservative” American virtues.

About 1,300,000 Americans have died in combat, at Lexington, in the Aleutians and North Africa, Vietnam, the Middle East, Nazi Europe, Korea, Cuba, the air over Germany, the trenches of France, forced labor camps, humid jungles, the holds of unmarked “Hell Ships” and the depths of oceans, on Bataan, frozen hilltops, trackless deserts, exposed, fortified invasion beaches, and in unimaginable, unnameable, unknown places.

These Americans were Catholics, atheists, agnostics, Sunni, Shia, Jewish, mainstream and evangelical Protestants, and from other faiths -- all part of the melting-pot mixture of American life. They came from a spectrum of wealth and gender preferences, and from a rainbow of colors, ethnicities, cultures and traditions. They were rural Americans, small town Americans, mid-sized urban Americans, suburban Americans and towering urban Americans.

These Americans came from every corner of America, and when they put on a military uniform of the United States of America, they were one in defense of democracy, combatting autocratic rulers, King George, Japanese militarists, German and Italian Fascists, and Korean Communists, in defense of democratic principles.

When these Americans died at Lexington, Bataan, the Middle East, Europe and Korea -- in captivity, in the air, on and below the oceans -- their lives lost weren’t “Republican,” “Democratic,” “Socialist,” “liberal,” or “conservative,” but instead were American. Not one of them, waving our flag or not, had a monopoly on political, religious or social virtue. All were American patriots.


These 1,300,000 American deaths are an everlasting testament to America’s commitment to democracy over autocracy. The blood shed at Midway, and throughout American history, is in all respects American blood.

For democracy.

John Erickson


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