Kevin Foley wrote “An apology to Private Parnam” in which he related his thoughts after visiting the World War II American Cemetery in Luxembourg. His thoughts juxtaposed his blind political beliefs onto a young man who gave his life for what he believed in: his country.
I am no stranger to World War II American cemeteries. My wife and I have been fortunate to be able to pay our respects to our Pacific war dead at the “Punch Bowl” and the USS Arizona memorials in Hawaii, and to the graves of our youth who died fighting the war in Europe. We stood in dreadful awe at the white gravestones and green grass at Normandy, France; Florence, Italy; and in the Luxembourg cemetery that Foley refers to.
When we made these journeys, we were accompanied by various groups of Americans. Some of these visitors were combat veterans of the war; all the rest of us were mature citizens whose age and experience connected us more closely to events of that war. In my judgment, these visitors had already grasped the enormous price paid by our fallen countrymen, and came not to discover, but to pay homage. They understood that those laid to rest under white markers remain an indisputable part in the making of America.
Our fellow visitors approached the somber — yet beautiful — rows of white markers with respect, as they searched the markers for names, home states or perhaps religions, that connected them to the soldier buried there.
What they did not search for was the soldier’s political affiliation. If these very young soldiers had ever thought about politics, those thoughts certainly found no space in the wartime reality of life and death. Our war cemeteries do not commemorate partisan political activities, nor do gravestones list political affiliations: They commemorate the great cost of protecting our precious liberty.
Whereas honorable Americans — and even citizens of the host countries — displayed gratitude to those who served, Foley found opportunities to usurp the dignity of a warrior, and to impute Foley’s own warped political views onto the blameless hero.
As a student of history, I have traveled to most of the major Civil War battlefields — including Petersburg where my great-grandfather was taken by federal forces — and to some of the crucial Revolutionary war sites. On these battlefields men (and women) fought for the freedom to choose a government responsive — not to politicians — but to its citizenry.
Time and conditions have evolved our form of government into something that our ancestors would hardly recognize. However, we can be pretty certain that they did not die in the pursuit of a socialistic control of their personal lives. They declared for “liberty or death” — not for “share the wealth.” They favored equality, but not an equality that was imposed by an overpowering government. They were open to progress, but would have rejected the “progressivism” so abusively asserted by Foley.
Foley’s article, once again, illustrates his massive contempt for American ideals. He implies — idiotically — that those who died honorably must have made their sacrifice in support of the bizarre ideology that Foley endlessly advocates. It is obvious that Foley has infinite self-regard: a narcissistic personality level approaching that of his idol in the White House. His egocentric personality does not permit him to recognize that he does not understand most of what he thinks he knows.
Personally, I find it very difficult to accept that Foley actually believes much of what he writes. It does not seem reasonable that an intelligent being could stray so far from reality. I can only conclude that he is so ignorant of American history that he cannot see how ridiculous his theses sound to educated people.