As aircraft fly over our crowded suburban valley to take part in a variety of Memorial Day air shows around the Southland, they bring a tangible reminder of how and why we are still free. For every patriotic holiday, they are here. And when I hear the unmistakable drone of the Condor Squadron, I always run outside to see how many are flying this time.
The Condor pilots have been from WWII era, just like their restored AT-6 trainers in which tens of thousands of military pilots got their early training. Some pilots now are younger and loving the challenges of the vintage aircraft. See the Los Angeles Times article.
We are only free because of the men and women who fought, suffered and died for us in many wars. In far too many cases, the suffering continues for decades after they return home. I wonder sometimes if any of us really appreciate those who were sent to war, let alone those parents who sent them off, knowing what might happen.
Some of the wars were controversial and stir bitter memories on all sides, whether sons and daughters fought in those wars on behalf of the innocent victims of other nations, or were conscientious objectors.
As the well-known saying goes, freedom isn’t free. We have to fight for it, work for it, protect it, and make sure it is never taken from us. If we lose our freedom, getting it back will demand even greater sacrifice and sorrow than we can even imagine. We cannot afford to go down that road. Freedom can be fleeting, especially when it comes to freedom of honest and respectful – if angry – public and private speech, and freedom to behave in moral ways that never take away the rights of others. But these things are not automatic and can easily be lost if we are not watchful and proactive.
A big thank you to our military personnel and their families! They are often all that stands between us and the enemies of freedom, at home and abroad.