As I stare out across the broad expanse of white crosses at the Epinal American cemetery in France, I am overcome with emotions.
This is courage. This is bravery. This is true patriotism. The ultimate sacrifice. The giving of one’s life for Country. I was here to pay tribute to an uncle, an Army medic killed by a Nazi sniper just a month before Germany surrendered.
He was one of the 420,000 brave American soldiers who died protecting our personal freedoms. Such needless deaths. All because of one very evil man, who would promote his nationalist agenda on an unwary German people.
When America was drawn into World War II, there was a call to action. All Americans were called to do their patriotic duty. The nation responded. President Biden recently made a similar call to action. Using data and recommendations from health professionals, he declared a vaccine mandate for all businesses with more than 100 employees.
Most Americans responded to the president's call. Unfortunately, others have not only refused but filed lawsuits opposing a mandate intended to save lives. Are so many Republican governors blinded by false allegiances that they would forgo what doctors worldwide have recommended? Do not these governors also have a responsibility to protect innocent lives? Where is the leadership? The heroism? I can only guess what Gen. George Patton would have told them.
And so as I leave Epinal, my heart swells with pride for an American hero. A man who truly understood what personal freedom means. A Purple Heart recipient. A man who risked his life each day and night for 3½ years so that others might live.
There is a lesson to be learned here, Gov. Pete Ricketts, as we thank God for our men and women in uniform this Veterans Day.
Mark Daharsh, Lincoln