my sweet poppo ended up in solitary confinement. shot down over the ploesti oil fields in romania, he was a WWII prisoner of war and was being held in a prison camp in bulgaria. he was courageously condemning the rat-eaten stale bread the prisoners were served, throwing it down, and he was hauled off to solitary confinement. after months of imprisonment my dad, along with others, was able to escape this POW camp and find his way to freedom. freedom.
each of us has our own freedom route, courage to summon up. i look at both of my children as they make their way in this world. they are courageously carving out their lives. they are scrappy and they make sacrifices to seek happiness and freedom from fear of any kind. my sweet poppo is cheering them on, both of them.
this calendar page hangs in the choir room. the words seemed particularly timely to us, for many reasons, on many levels. we looked up the person to which they were credited: thucydides. a studier of human nature, he: “also has been called the father of the school of political realism, which views the political behavior of individuals and the subsequent outcomes of relations between states as ultimately mediated by, and constructed upon, the emotions of fear and self-interest.”
we owe the freedom of our country to the veterans, like my sweet dad, who we honor today and to wise, thoughtful, inspired leaders of this country. we have much to be grateful for.
and yet. these savvy words of this ancient greek historian…”the emotions of fear and self-interest”. this is relevant.
my poppo sat in a prison camp cell representing a country fighting against leaders filled with self-interest and the indiscriminate propagation of fear and atrocities upon innocent people. his courage was buoyed by the courage of his fellow soldiers. my father was staunchly determined to put others’ needs first.
i fear what is happening in our country today would sadden him; his response would be that our leaders are not acting out of courage, not out of a rallying call for equitable independence of all, but instead, out of bullying and grandiose self-serving.
and i believe my sweet poppo would throw down the rat-eaten stale philosophy of this current government. with his great courage. in true freedom.