My father (pictured far left, in the swordfish shirt) fought Fascism in World War II.
He left my mother (pictured, far right), my two older brothers, and my yet-to-be-born older sister to keep the world safe for Democracy. The innocent, nose-picking 3-year old in the attached 70 year old photo is me. I was born post-War, in 1949.
My father was sent from Brooklyn, N.Y., to the other side of the world to protect his family against tyrants and terrorism at home. We were very fortunate; my father, his brothers, and my other uncles came home, in one piece, without a physical injury or PTSD.
My life-partner Carol Villano’s family, the Jacobsons, were not so lucky: they lost a 20-year old son named Herbert Jacobson, after whom my brother-in-law was named. Herbert Jacobson, the brother of Carol’s father (who also went overseas to fight the Fascists) died fighting the Nazis, who were in the process of slaughtering 6 million of his fellow Jews.
My immediate family was far more fortunate than nearly half-a-million other American families whose courageous freedom-fighters never came home. They died because a monster named Hitler, an authoritarian nationalist, anti-Semitic sociopath, was obsessed with expanding his empire, steamrolling through sovereign states, and annihilating all Jews, and anyone he did not like.
Now, 40 million free, independent Ukrainians—Jews and non-Jews– are living through this nightmare again, because another megalomaniacal Fascist tyrant named Putin, wants to overturn the world order and expand his imaginary empire, ending one of the longest-lasting periods of “peace” in world history. The only “Nazification” that has occurred in this Russian attack on the free, independent country of Ukraine, is in the mind and methodology and worldview of Vladimir Putin.
Unbelievably, there are authoritarian-loving Americans in our own country, undermining the US military and cheering on a murdering Hitler-wannabe dictator. Those modern-day Quislings include Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, Tucker Carlson, Mike Pompeo, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Jim Jordan, Marjorie Traitor Greene, and many members of what used to be known as the Republican Party. Now, however, the GOP has been transformed into Grifters of Putin, since the Party, the National Rifle Association, and many individual GOP elected officials have received millions of dollars from the Killer Kleptocrat from the KGB over the past 7 years. And they have no shame about selling out our country to a murdering madman. Ethel & Julius Rosenberg were executed as spies for doing far less to benefit Russia.
These desecraters of Democracy—some of whom defecated in our Nation’s Capitol Building on January 6, 2021–have thrown dirt on the memory of Private First Class Herbert Jacobson, and on those of my father and my uncles and of hundreds of thousands of other soldiers who have made superhuman sacrifices to preserve peace and save Democracy for their families, and for families, just like ours, around the world.
My father was a simple, uncomplicated man, who loved my mother passionately, loved his children, liked his beer, and enjoyed playing the horses. Without thinking twice about it, he helped save Democracy for us at home, and for all of Europe, because it was, simply, the right thing to do. The peace for which he left his family behind in Brooklyn, lasted for some 75 years, led to the creation of the United Nations, of NATO, and the birth of new Democracies around the world.
His service to his country, and to all of humanity, made it possible for me to be born with personal freedoms unimaginable to him a generation earlier, and to enjoy a simple, carefree vacation in Niagara Falls, Canada, 70 years ago with him, my mother and my sister.
Ukrainians, and future generations of Americans, like my son, my nieces and nephews, and grandchildren, deserve the same simple pleasures of a free, full life, without the threat of war or mass suffering or repression. The anniversary of my father’s birth is next week, and to honor him, and the free lives he gave us, I want the world’s Democracies–including our own–to rescue Ukrainian families from the darkness and destruction unleashed by another Fascist sociopath, possessed with wild-eyed ideas and weaponry meant to suffocate human beings, and all human rights and freedoms.