Since freedom of expression was paid for, we should be using it
Write to the Point
June 6 is the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Europe during World War II — D-Day. Sadly, some of us don’t know this, and if we do, we don’t take the time to think about what it means.
Friday is also the 73rd anniversary of the conclusion of the three-day epic Battle of Midway, June 4-6, an event less known than D-Day. Midway is a small island that, as the name implies, is halfway across the Pacific between North America and Asia. During WWII it was a major refueling point for ships and planes and a target for invasion by forces of the empire of Japan.
Both D-Day and Midway were pivotal moments in WWII. Both were desperate, fiercely contested actions, involving heroism of immense scale. Both were terrifying moments for those involved, terror those never experiencing battle can’t really fathom.
What went through the minds of soldiers at D-Day as they awaited the ramps on LSVPs to fall open at Omaha and Utah beaches in 1944? Standing in a pitching, metal, open-top box, listening to bullets fly overhead and ricochet off the sides — are these my final moments on Earth? Are these my final seconds, thousands of miles from loved ones?
And what about the pilots and sailors at Midway? How did the men of the U.S.S Hornet’s Torpedo 8 squadron feel as they dove from the partly cloudy, blue skies of the North Pacific to the waves below, rushing headlong at several hundred miles an hour just above the whitecaps towards the wall of bullets and shellfire from the fast approaching Japanese fleet.
Are these my final moments? What will become of my loved ones? Will my sacrifice be for nothing?
The answer to that last one should be “no.” While I have no doubt our servicemen and women enter combat believing they are fighting to protect our freedom, sadly many wars don’t come about because of that.
There is truth to the phrase war is “Diplomacy by other means.” When we send our blood and kin to fight for us, it’s because we have failed to find other ways to resolve conflict.
That doesn’t make their sacrifice any less valuable. They believe they are protecting freedom, and that belief is enough.
In fact, knowing that belief should inspire us to take advantage of the freedoms we have been given, and the most important of those — to me — is the right to voice our opinions. And the best way to “voice” an opinion — again for me — is through the media, print and/or broadcast.
Many of use choose not to utilize this freedom. We send a private email expressing our differences, we waste space on personal attacks and insinuation rather than coherent thought.
We are mistaken if we believe silent disagreement is meeting the freedom of speech standard many have died to protect.
There are some who have the vehicle to express opinions, but fail to do so. I feel I have been one of those, so to honor those who sacrificed for my right to speak freely and publicly, here are a few things I believe.
I believe raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do because unlike wealth that might trickle down from above, creating a good wage for millions of Americans will produce a tidal surge from below that will float all boats.
I believe it is right to do all we can to reduce pollution, but not to save the planet. Earth routinely faces calamitous events, including six large ones over its 4.5 billion years of existence that nearly wiped out all life.
Reducing pollution isn’t about saving the Earth — it will go on. It’s about saving ourselves because if we don’t, all we have accomplished is wasted and all we hope to achieve is squandered.
I believe in a person’s right to bear arms, but if it threatens the larger rights given by God of life and liberty then it should be controlled.
I believe everyone has a right to a publicly funded, good basic education. But the public has the right to decide what this education consists of, not bureaucrats or courts.
Finally, I believe we shouldn’t wait until the last Monday in May to honor those who went before us by exercising our rights. We should do that everyday, and a good start would be June 6.
John McCallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.