I have finished reading To Kill the Devil, by Herbert M. Mason, Jr., published in 1978. Every three or four years, I read this book, and each time although I know the outcome, I find the story gripping. It consoles me to know that within the Third Reich, there were generals and soldiers brave enough to try to stop Hitler. In fact, at the end of the book, there is a list of more than twenty people who were executed or forced to commit suicide because their assassination attempts on Hitler’s life failed, and they were “discovered.” It’s a subject and a history that won’t die.
In spite of Memorial Day’s exciting events—the Indy 500, traditional backyard barbecues, parades, and ceremonies that mark the beginning of summer, in this blog this year, I celebrate the resiliency of beauty, the constancy of hope, and the memory of those who are no longer here.
I got to know a descendant of Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, the Canadian doctor, who wrote the poem “In Flanders Field.” My friend, who also is no longer here, was a feisty Scottish woman with red hair, blazing blue eyes, a sharp chin, and callused hands. Standing in her farmyard, she pointed and said. “There are always critters that get in the garden.” Metaphorically, we who love America can attest to that, for otherwise how do we explain disgruntled protesters who have the right and privilege to speak freely so violently destroy civil discourse? It’s an enigma. Fortunately, the poppies in Flanders Field that stand “between the crosses row on row,” are sturdy, bright, and confident, supporting our most precious freedoms.
When Rosalie Chris Lerman, who died at the age of 93 just this past month and who along with her husband was a founder of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, returned to Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp some thirty years after she was liberated, her daughter said, “I was expecting my mother to fall apart with emotion, but instead she returned with a sense of triumph.” Rosalie’s words--- “I survived; the Nazi regime did not.”
I dedicate my single red poppy to Rosalie and to all defenders of freedom who are no longer here.