Friday, February 24, 2023

"February 24, 2022" - One Year Later.

This day marks the first anniversary of what is still an ongoing atrocity: Russia's attempt (yet again) to erase Ukraine's existence as a nation and a people. The Ukrainians continue to defend themselves with profound national awareness. They also continue to suffer from what appears to be Russia's almost nihilistic aggression that cares nothing for human persons, whether they be Ukrainian children, the sick, elders, or their own young conscripts, great numbers of whom they send charging recklessly at Ukrainian defense positions (reminiscent of the suicidal trench warfare in Europe a hundred years ago). The fatal casualty rate of these poor teenagers is enormous.

What will bring this nightmare to an end? God have mercy on them, and on all of us.

Today is February 24, 2023. "February 24..." A date sure to appear in future history books, as "the beginning of... what?" At least the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but what will this all turn into before it ends? No one can say at this moment in time. But kids in the future will have to memorize this date for history tests... if we still have schools in the future, and if we still care about the facts of history... (okay, overdramatic rhetoric perhaps; hyperbole, but not without reason - lots of Ukrainian kids don't have schools because they have been blown up).

Certain dates become marked permanently by horrible events that they commemorate. There have been more than a few in my lifetime. Some come to my mind right away: November 22, 1963 (assassination of JFK); May 13, 1981 (assassination attempt on John Paul II); June 4, 1989 (Tiananmen Square Massacre); and, of course, September 11, 2001 (you all remember that one). There have been others, no doubt, in the past 60 years.

Two additional dates are permanently marked in my own mind, and in many others who were personally proximate in some manner to these particular catastrophes: One of them is April 16, 2007, that awful day for my colleagues and their students at Virginia Tech University, when a deranged gunman killed 32 people—students and a few teachers—in their classrooms. The second date—for me and for tens of thousands of people on every continent in this world (most of them very young people)—needs no explanation for anyone who reads this blog or pays any attention to my social media: June 10, 2016.

What do these dates all have in common? Innocent people died on these days. Acts of shocking violence were perpetrated against them. Their humanity and their personal dignity were violated. The human community was violated. God made us to be brothers and sisters. It should be obvious why God commanded us, "do not kill" ... do not murder your brother, your sister.

Pray for our poor world. And remember February 24, 2022.