Tag Archives: WWII

Eve of destruction? Hardly!

I see these social media posts and I shake my noggin.

“Joe Biden is destroying the country,” they say. Oh really? How in the world can anyone presume that we’re being “destroyed” when we have endured what we went through for the past four years prior to Biden become president?

While we’re at it, how did the country survive the turmoil of the 1960s, with the Vietnam War raging and protesters lighting fires in our cities? Or when we suffered through political assassination, starting with the murder of a president, then with the gunning down of a preacher and civil-rights champion and then the brother of the president who well could have become POTUS on his own?

Or how about during the Second World War, or the Civil War?

Yeah, we’ve been through a lot in this country. We have been on the verge of destruction many times already. We have managed to come out on the other side. Perhaps a bit tattered, battered and bruised.

Joe Biden is “destroying the country” because he wants to invest in some social programs? Please … spare me the hyperbole.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Listen to The Bulldog

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The 20th century’s greatest statesman was so wise on so many fronts, levels and issues.

His view that a nation must remember its past reminds me of something I saw while my wife and I were visiting friends in Germany in 2016.

Our friend took me to what they call in Nuremberg the “The Documentation Center.” What, you might ask, is the Documentation Center?

It is an exhibit that walks visitors through the Nuremberg war crimes trials that commenced shortly after World War II. Axis Powers officials were put on trial for their crimes against humanity. You know, The Holocaust … for example!

Our friend Martin told me straight up that Germany does not hide its past. The descendants of that terrible Nazi regime confront the ugliness of that era head on, he said. “We aren’t proud of it,” he told me. However, they put it all on full display for the world to see.

I came away from the exhibit moved and shaken at many levels by what I read and saw.

Five years later, the debate in this country centers on “critical race theory.” It speaks to the enslavement of human beings by other human beings. It poses fundamentally sound questions about the United States today remains a racist country.

These are not specious questions. They are legitimate. They deserve to be studied and discussed in our classrooms, in our dining rooms, in our living rooms.

Waiting for next ‘greatest generation’

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The nation is about to say goodbye to yet another Fourth of July holiday and it gives me pause to reflect on a conversation I had a few days ago with a North Texas gentleman who offered an observation I felt compelled in the moment to challenge.

He told me he was unsure that today’s young people would be able to storm the beaches of Normandy the way they did on June 6, 1944 when Allied forces launched the campaign to liberate Europe from the tyranny that had gripped it tightly.

I begged to differ from my friend’s view. “Oh yes they would,” I told him. I said my only hope that be that there would be no need for them to mobilize and to act the way our parents and grandparents did.

I long have saluted the Greatest Generation, the 16 million Americans who suited up for World War II. Of that total, fewer than 400,000 are still with us. My dad was one of them. So were several of my uncles and my father-in-law. They’re all gone now and I honor their heroic acts damn near daily.

I do not believe,  though, that they will be final generation of Americans to step. Indeed, the 9/11 generation is full of incidents of young men and women signing up for active military duty on the day the terrorists struck us on that horrifying day, much like my own dad did when Pearl Harbor was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941.

The annals of heroism are full of episodes of greatness among the current generation of young Americans who are fighting for their country. They, too, are facing unique obstacles as they battle face to face with enemies of our way of life.

They are the heirs of the Greatest Generation who, I am convinced, are set to forge their own path to greatness. I am proud of them.

Ike would be angry

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

EISENHOWER STATE PARK, Texas — There are times when our retirement journey intersects with current events.

It happened when we returned to a place near the birthplace of one of this nation’s greatest statesmen, military heroes … and politicians.

Dwight David Eisenhower was born just down the road from where we parked our fifth wheel. You recall the nation’s 34th president, yes? He graduated from West Point, served in the Army where along the way he took command of Allied forces in Europe during World War II and helped defeat the 20th century’s most despotic tyrant. He retired from the Army and then decided he would run for public office: the presidency.

He won election in 1952 and re-election in 1956. President Eisenhower wasn’t a natural politician, but he declared himself to be a Republican because he believed in the party’s basic principles.

He would be infuriated today at the behavior of the party he left behind. The party has become an organization he likely wouldn’t recognize. It has become the playground of one man, Donald Trump, who in a strange found his way to the presidency in a somewhat parallel path as the great man, Dwight Eisenhower. Trump hadn’t sought public office, either, before launching his presidential bid.

The similarity ends there.

Ike did things, such as launch an interstate highway construction program that revolutionized our way of life. Trump? Well, he hurled invective at his foes, at the media and finally at the government he took an oath to protect.

Our retirement journey is meant to remove us from from the hassles and headaches of the headlines. Sometimes, though, there can be no escape … such as when we venture to a park named after one of America’s greatest Republicans.

Yep, I do like Ike.

No desire to ‘salute’ such horror

Yes, by all means look at this picture.

The message was posted on Facebook I presume by someone who opposes the takedown of Confederate memorials. The text is spot on … until we get to the last line.

Auschwitz stands as a grim reminder of humankind’s cruelty. It doesn’t glorify anything or anyone. Nor do any of the other memorials scattered throughout Europe that take note of the Holocaust and the evil that produced it.

Therefore, I still stand with those who oppose the glorification of the American Civil War and the Confederate States of America’s secession from the Union to fight to preserve slavery.

Those who fly the Confederate flag do so by and large to celebrate what the CSA did, which was to commit treason against the federal government and to bring on the bloodiest conflict in American history.

My wife and I went to Germany in 2016. We stayed with friends in Nuremberg. I had the chance to tour the Documentation Center in the city where Nazi and Japanese leaders were put on trial for crimes against humanity. Our friend in Nuremberg told us that Germans do not fly the swastika to celebrate what the Nazis did; nor do they salute picture of Adolf Hitler. They have erected or preserved these structures to remind the world — and themselves — of the horror that humanity is capable of bringing to itself.

I never will accept the notion that the Confederacy, the Civil War and the reason for fighting it should stand as proud symbol of our nation’s “heritage” and “history.” Sure, keep the statues — but place them in museums and tell the world about the evil they represent.

Wait for the whining about Facebook ‘censorship’

Facebook has done the absolutely correct thing by pulling down a Donald Trump re-election campaign ad that displays a symbol used by Nazis to designate political prisoners.

I cannot wait for the yammering, whining and whimpering to start now from the Trump team, complaining that Facebook is being “politically correct.”

The symbol is a red inverted triangle the Nazis would use to identify individuals bound for, um, death camps and other forms of political imprisonment. Indeed, it is reprehensible in the extreme for such symbols to show up anywhere these days, let alone coming from a campaign for a president of the United States seeking re-election.

As the Washington Post reported: A red inverted triangle was first used in the 1930s to identify Communists, and was applied as well to Social Democrats, liberals, Freemasons and other members of opposition parties. The badge forced on Jewish political prisoners, by contrast, featured a yellow triangle overlaid by a red triangle.

What in the name of common decency is the Trump team trying to convey?

They either are ignorant, arrogant or simply stupid.

Hey, I’ll go with all of the above.

Trump has decided to go after antifa, the loosely based collection of protesters often identified with far-left movements. Indeed, the word “antifa” is shorthand for “anti-fascist,” which is precisely the kind of movement that this modern-day group would oppose … and which was the focal point of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany.

Facebook acted correctly.

As for the ad it took down, well, it speaks volumes about Donald John Trump.

Conspiracy theories live forever and ever

They will never die. Not ever. They will live far beyond all of our time on Earth. They’ll outlive my sons’ time, too.

What are “they”? Conspiracy theories! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Jeffrey Epstein’s death in the Manhattan, New York City jail cell has spawned ’em by the dozens. Already! You see, Epstein was supposed to stand trial after he pleaded not guilty to charges that he peddled young girls for sex.

Epstein had some high-powered friends. Two of them became “former friends” for reasons that aren’t exactly clear. Their names are Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. 

Now that Epstein is dead, the conspiracists have developed some hideous notions that Clinton might have been involved in killing him. Others have suggested Trump played a role in murdering Epstein.

These theories are going to take root. Their roots will run deep.

We’ve had our share of eternal conspiracy theories.

  • President Kennedy’s murder in Dallas couldn’t possibly have been committed by a lone rifleman.
  •  The 9/11 terrorist attacks were the work of those within the George W. Bush administration looking for reasons to go to war.
  •  President Barack Obama was born in Africa and was not qualified to run for the office to which he was elected twice.
  •  Those pictures from the moon’s surface were shot in a studio somewhere on Earth.
  •  Good grief, there are those who have suggested that President Roosevelt goaded the Japanese into attacking us at Pearl Harbor.

And so they have gone. They’ll go on forever.

Indeed, conspiracy theories already exist involving former President Clinton. They involve bogus allegations of people with dirt on the president and his wife ending up dead. Indeed, those phony rumors are thought to be the source of the latest defamatory rumors surrounding the death of the miserable pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Are there questions that need answering? Surely, yes.

However, I believe I can predict today that no matter how thorough the explanation, or how much evidence they produce to back whatever conclusions they draw about Epstein’s death, there will be those who will purport to disbelieve what they see and hear.

They will trade on conspiracy theories. What’s worse is that there will be those who are willing to take the bait.

Disgusting.

Unity becoming a signature issue among Democrats

I have heard a lot of talk of the “u-word” among those who are running for president of the United States.

They want to bring unity to the country. They want to bridge the divide that is growing between and among various ethnic, religious, racial and political groups.

They say we are living in (arguably) the most divisive period in our nation’s history. I agree with their goal. I favor a more unified country, too. The divisions that have torn us apart have created nations within the nation.

I am going to disagree with the implication I have heard from some of the Democrats running for president that this division is the worst in our history.

We had that Civil War from 1861 to 1865. The nation fought against itself, killing 600,000 Americans on battlefields throughout the eastern third of what is now the United States of America.

The Great Depression brought about huge division, too. Americans tossed out a president and brought in another one who promised a New Deal. It took some time for the economy to recover. Indeed, it’s been argued that World War II was the catalyst that sparked the nation’s economic revival.

Then came two more wars: in Korea and Vietnam. Those conflicts produced division as well. Vietnam, particularly, brought death in our city streets as well as in far-off battlefields.

The divisions today are severe. Donald Trump campaigned for the presidency pledging to unify the nation. He has failed. Indeed, his rhetoric only has deepened the divide.

The white nationalist debate that has flared with the New Zealand massacre allegedly by someone associated with white supremacists has underscored the division.

So now we have a huge and growing field of Democrats seeking to succeed Donald Trump as president. One of the themes that links them all is their common call for unity. One of them, Beto O’Rourke, says he wants to “restore our democracy.” OK, but . . . how?

Seeking unity is a noble and worthwhile goal. I applaud any candidate who says he or she wants to make that a top priority.

However, I am no longer in the mood for platitudes. I need some specifics on how to achieve it. I know that Donald Trump is a lost cause. He cannot unify his own White House staff, let alone a nation he was elected to govern.

The rest of the field needs to lay out their plans to achieve what Trump has failed to do.

In . . . detail!

‘No president has worked harder’

This isn’t a huge leap, so I feel comfortable in presuming that Donald Trump is angry over the revelations about all that “executive time” he takes in the White House.

That has to explain the Twitter messages he fired off declaring how “no president has worked harder than me” at making America great again and all the myriad tasks associated with being president of the United States.

He bellowed something about the “mess” he inherited in January 2017. How he has restored the military, repaired the Veterans Administration, dealt with “endless wars,” stopped the North Korean nuclear threat . . . and on and on.

No president has worked harder than this guy?

Hmm. Let’s see about that.

I wonder if his work ethic exceeds that of, say, Abraham Lincoln, who served while the country was killing itself during the Civil War; or when Franklin Roosevelt was trying to win World War II after the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; or when John F. Kennedy had to face down the Soviet Union’s missile threat in Cuba; or when George W. Bush had to respond to the 9/11 terror attacks.

Donald Trump would have us believe he has worked “harder” than those previous presidents? And what about the results of all those issues Trump has tackled? North Korea is still developing nukes; we’re still at war in Afghanistan and Iraq; the VA work remains undone; the military was just as strong when Trump took office as it is now.

It is typical Trumpian hyperbole, exaggeration and — dare I say it — outright lying.

In support of a ‘nation of immigrants’

I am feeling the urge to stand once again in support of an ideal that occasionally gets lost in the hot-topic debating point of the moment.

We’re talking a lot these days about illegal immigrants. The discussion once in a while gravitates toward a discussion of all immigrants. Yes, even the foreigners who venture to our country legally get caught up in this discussion.

I am the grandson of immigrants. All four of them became great Americans. They came here of their choosing. They sought a better life than what they had in Greece and Turkey. They married — in this country — and brought 10 children into this world among them. Five of those children served in the U.S. military and of those five, three saw combat in World War II and Korea; my father was one of the WWII combat vets produced by the immigrants from Greece.

My story is not unique. It is one of tens of millions of stories that the immigrants and their direct descendants can and have told over the years.

That is precisely why I am mentioning it here.

It is that this nation of immigrants must not ever lose sight of its creation and the strength it has acquired from the work of those who came here and who built the nation we all love.

Yes, I know that many of those who came here from afar did not venture to our shores of their own volition. They were rounded up by slave traders and shipped across the ocean to become “property” of slaveowners. They obtained their freedom eventually while the United States was fighting a bloody and gruesome civil war over their enslavement.

Those Americans have become an important part of the national fabric. They achieved greatness.

This ongoing debate over whether to erect The Wall along our southern border is intended ostensibly to curb illegal immigration. In actuality whatever is occurring on our border is a longstanding event.

But as we keep yapping and yammering at each other over whether The Wall is worth the expense, we must take care to avoid that slippery-slope debating point that swallows up those who have ventured here lawfully.

I have heard it said over many years that we need to slam the door shut, that we have enough immigrants here already. Indeed, the president of the United States has talked openly about establishing a merit-based system that screens those seeking entry, allowing only those who possess the requisite skills to succeed in this Land of Opportunity.

That is as un-American a proposal as I can imagine, given the contributions that those four immigrants from southern Europe I mentioned earlier brought to this country. They weren’t well-educated. They didn’t come with special training or skill.

Instead, they all came to our land intent on falling in love with this great nation. They did. The nation was enriched by their presence.

Let us not forget that they are far from the only immigrants who can — and who have built — the greatest nation on Earth.