GENSUDA COLUMN: The Day the sky turned gray

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, March 2, 2022

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The rain is steadily falling through a sky of gray.  It seems apropos today as a world away in Ukraine, their citizens are gazing at skies filled with smoke.  A desk lamp dispels the darkness in my office, and the hum of electricity breaks the silence. However, I know others in the world are huddled in the dark, cloaked in fear. My grandchildren play in their heated rooms, relishing a Sunday with their parents and playing games. Yet, Ukrainian children are fleeing their homes, tearfully waving goodbye to their fathers while clutching their mother’s hand as she attempts to reach safety.

I was a World War II baby. When I was small, my parents would occasionally take me to see a movie. Mother said my fear of evil began in the darkness of those theaters.  I don’t know how old I was, but before the film started, newsreels would run, showing the audience visions of war and genocide.

When my young eyes viewed the grainy black and white images of Adolph Hitler’s carnage and the horrors of concentration camps, my nightmares began by the dozens. For years, when I heard a siren, panic set in, and tears flowed. Mother was horrified that because they took me to enjoy a movie, I would be forever terrified that Hitler would rise again one day.

Tyrants rise because of their lies and insatiable thirst for power.  They divide and conquer the souls of their people and create anguish and hostility wherever they roam. These cruel oppressors are recorded in our history books and in the Bible as insane, narcissistic, egomaniacs intent on destruction. 

Good versus evil is at the heart of any war, and it always has been. Those who seek to control and conquer, love to confuse, enjoy the battle, and cause ethnic division are the same nightmare evil autocrats of old.

To avoid such evildoing should always be our primary motivation as a country.

For several years, we have battled each other over everything from mandates, elections, liberalism, conservatism, welfare, bigotry, and good Lord, have we blamed everything on everyone.

We are a nation filled with free individuals who often behave like spoiled brats because we have no idea what it feels like to live in a country without the freedom to be bratty … until today.

Today, we can turn on our televisions and witness the cost of freedom, the fear of dictatorship, and the price folks are willing to pay to keep their sacred rights. We understand the definition of unification and its importance when it is time to fight for independence. Our infighting suddenly pales in the face of the Ukrainian battle to remain sovereign.

The character of a nation matters and must be reflected in its citizens and leaders. We cannot, nor should we ever, condone racism because it breeds fascism and tyranny. We must never idolize leaders but hold each of them accountable to keep the sanctity and character that reflects the good citizens of our nation. If we do not, dictators will rise from the ashes of an apathetic public.

I do not know what tomorrow will hold for Ukraine, but I applaud the spirit of their nation to combat depravity. The bravery of the Ukrainian men and women teaches the world the value of liberty and what people can achieve when they bind their hands together to save their lives and their land.

Six-year-old Jaxon was sitting on the sofa with me, playing a video game. The attack on Ukraine had just begun, so I was watching the breaking news.

“Grandma, what’s happening?” I decided it could be a teaching moment, and as Vladimir Putin’s face sneered across the screen, I replied, pointing at the television, “Jax, you see that man?”

He is the head of another country far away, and he is an evil man.”

“Why is he bad?” Jax replied.

“Well, son, there will always be bad men and women who want to control people, but the trick is to recognize who they are and stop them before they become supervillains.”

“Like the Joker?” Jax’s eyes grew bigger.

“Yep, and we all have to put on our Batman capes to fight them because good must always triumph over evil.”

He nodded in agreement and went on to play his video games beside his Grandma in a warm place called home.

A tear rolled down my cheek when I realized there would be children who will forever have nightmares about the day when the sirens roared as evil began to stroll down their streets, the skies turned gray, and their home was no more.