Memorial Day in the Shadow of Terrorism

Published 4:56 pm Saturday, May 28, 2022

By: Sherron Westerfield, Contributing columnist

Memorial Day 2022 will be a day off from work for the majority of Americans, a day that signals the end of both a luscious spring and another school year, as well as the unofficial beginning of summer. Central Kentucky has been enjoying idyllic weather  as evidenced by the large number of boaters and golfers, picnics and other outdoor  activities. Municipal and private swimming pools – repaired, cleaned, and full of breath stealing cold water – are opening again and will lie in wait for the adventurous.

This weekend, Walmart shopping carts will be filled to overflowing with grave memorials made of ribbons and artificial flowers as families prepare for traditional  Memorial Day visits to cemeteries to pay homage to their departed loved ones.  American homes and businesses will proudly display our nation’s colors. Smaller flags  will traditionally stand sentry at the graves of our veterans.

As we move into summer, the national mood with the ongoing war that Russia is  waging against Ukraine is a blend of mourning, apprehension, and hope. We mourn for  lives lost. We are apprehensive about unknown dangers. And we continue to hope for  peace and safety for all.

Thanks to the inescapable Internet, every day we hear or read of terrorism taking  place in remote and foreign places. We are warned that we must not become  complacent but instead remain ever alert in anticipation of further terroristic acts against  our homeland. “They,” the terrorists, are said to be lurking in the shadows and  presumed safety of our neighborhoods. Swarthy men with foreign accents are regarded  with suspicion.

While we are waiting for “them” to make their moves and reveal themselves, we  are under attack from other terrorists. What makes them especially frightening and  dangerous is that they look and talk like you and me. It is possible that we live next door  to a terrorist, or sit next to one in church, or talk with one as we go about the ordinary  events of our day-to-day lives.

The terrorists who live among us are the ones who boldly murder political  candidates who disagree with their way of doing things. They keep guns large and small  at the ready for an anticipated invasion of their homes by people of a different color or  ethnicity. They attack our sheriffs, deputies, and police officers who dare to try to  enforce the laws so haughtily disregarded by such men.

The misogynist who raises his hand to his wife and daughters is also a terrorist.  The pedophile who breaches a position of trust and destroys a child’s innocence is a  terrorist. The bigot whose language is peppered with racial slurs is a terrorist. The  parent who inflicts pain and suffering on their own child is a terrorist. Anyone who  commits deliberate violence against another person is a terrorist.

Recent events have quickened our instincts to protect our families and ourselves.  We have a heightened sense of awareness of the frailty of life itself. As we move  forward into the pleasures of summer, let us be mindful of our own behavior toward others. Make this a time to love whole-heartedly, to find the courage to forgive those  who have hurt us, to live every day fully and with appreciation.

We remain vigilant in our watch for covert actions by suspicious people and pray  that we will be spared injury and suffering by hate-driven foreign terrorists. Let us also  refuse to tolerate any form of terrorism on a local level. May we muster the courage to report terroristic behavior of any sort to the appropriate authorities. As Americans, we  are all – no matter our age, sex, race, religion, or ethnic origin – entitled to “Life, Liberty,  and the pursuit of Happiness.” That appears to be a tough concept for some people to  grasp.