Their Memorial Day

Our patriots died for the freedoms we so blithely take for granted including free speech, the right to assemble, trial by jury, and the right to bear arms.

Many others, around the world, do not have those rights, and have failed in their attempts to assert them.This year marks the 30th anniversary of a failed attempt for democracy in another part of the world. In 1989, students in China mounted protests in major cities across the country. The largest in Beijing involved as many as 100,000 who paralyzed streets and disrupted state visits while voicing their demands for democracy.

The Communist government took increasingly severe steps to suppress the demonstrations that culminated on June 5th with the “Tank Man” confrontation that made news around the world. Government troops mounted an armed assault and re-took the square in the following days. Armed suppression continued around the country until student leaders had been captured and protests stopped. Many of those leaders were never heard from again. Official (Chinese government) reports say 23 students were killed. Unofficial reports say the correct number, country-wide, is as many as 100,000.

In today’s Xinjiang province, 1,000,000 Chinese citizens of Uyghur decent are locked into “re-education” camps. The government denies the number and purpose.

It could be argued that, had the protesters been armed, even more would have died. That is sadly true. But it’s also true that, in the late 1700s and all the years after, our patriots have been armed, and we continue to enjoy our freedoms in spite of, or perhaps because of that. Billions in other countries, without arms, are unable to do the same.

Most of the world doesn’t enjoy what we take for granted.

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