The images of Americans waving Nazi flags and giving sieg heil salutes in my state of Virginia sicken me. Our nation sacrificed the blood of hundreds of thousands of its sons and daughters fighting fascism, and we prevailed. Would our grandfathers be proud to see these racist shitbags parading around in their make-believe Nazi costumes today? Chanting Hitler’s slogans?
Remember what they fought for. And what they fought against.
Remember men like my grandfather, Corporal Harry A. Prettyman, 34th Combat Engineer Battalion, United States Army. He served 38 months of overseas deployment fighting in the Pacific and saw combat at Saipan and Okinawa, two of the bloodiest battles of WW2. He fought to come home to his wife and make the world a safer place for his family. A world free of Nazis and fascist regimes. A world where his grandchildren would enjoy prosperity his generation could only dream of.
Remember men like my great uncle, Aviation Machine’s Mate 3rd Class Elmer M. Junior, United States Navy. Killed in a plane crash in training at Corpus Christi Naval Air Station just 3 weeks shy of his 24th birthday. The son of a French immigrant, he enlisted to help free his father’s homeland from Nazi invaders.
Remember women like my grandmother, Lavon Prettyman, who lost her brother Elmer while her brother Leo was fighting in the European theater. Her husband Harry shipped off to the Pacific six months after they were married and she wouldn’t see him again for 38 months. Both brothers, her husband, and numerous cousins served in uniform. Remember how these sisters, daughters, mothers and wives worked in bomber factories and planted victory gardens.
Americans, we inherited this land from people who stood up to evil and fought to protect it from tyranny. We cannot cede this land to those who would impose racist tyranny upon us now. On any American, brown, white, black, red, yellow or any shade in between. Americans united can never be divided.
Neo-Nazis, alt-right, so-called white supremacists (what’s so supreme about a lack of melanin?), skinheads, whatever they call themselves, are the enemy of American democracy. They are terrorists. And they will be defeated. This is not a political issue. It is an American issue.