Stories and images coming out of Ukraine in recent days tug at the heartstrings as we see the faces and hear the voices of innocent people fearing for their lives because of a power grab by the world’s latest madman — Vladimir Putin, President of Russia. One day Ukraine children are at their desks in school and, the next day they are huddled in make-shift bomb shelters trying to stay alive.
The thirst for power and expansion never seems to go away. The names change but the evil still lurks in our world ready to inflict pain and death on the innocent to achieve twisted goals of accomplishment. Due to advances in technology we now come face-to-face with the anguish and suffering of people who are no different than us — making a living, raising their children and building their lives. The world is much too small to hide madman travesties from human eyes in real time and little wonder that Putin has received such widespread condemnation for his actions from so much of the world.
For those of us who are older and have witnessed such widespread evil actions before, resulting in tremendous loss of life, there is a realization that, as long as the world exists there will be evil in it and there is a constant battle to not let evil overcome good. My prayers are for the people who are presently suffering because evil raised its ugly head again.
• TOGETHER — Although I’m certainly touched by what I’m seeing happen to the people in Ukraine I’m also inspired by the bravery and unity of citizens who have stepped up and continue to step up to defend their country against another Hitler. If you are like me, you remember another time in our nation when such unity in fighting a foe existed. Now, there is more division in our nation than I’ve ever witnessed. We need to get back to focusing on what unites us — not what divides us.
• OBSCENE THREAT? — We received a call about an obscene sign at a house in the 1500 block of North Main. When we checked it out, the professionally-printed sign read “F—- Biden”. This is 2022 and, with all of the political and social correctness these days, such an expression could be interpreted as advocating a sexual assault against the President! I am certainly not a big fan of President Biden’s policies but, if that’s the best someone can do who doesn’t care for him, that’s not only obscene, but extremely disappointing. The “F” word seems to have become popular these days with more and more people using it in expressing an opinion. I’ve been an editor and public speaker for many, many years and I’ve managed to state my views and express my opinions without ever using the word — in public or private. When someone has to resort to such word usage to make a point, it speaks to a limited vocabulary — at least that’s my observation. Besides, in the context it is often used, it doesn’t make any sense.
• SINGING CENTER — One of the obituaries in this week’s edition of the Trib is for James B. Maguire who passed away on February 9th. I couldn’t help but notice that he was born in East St. Louis but “his family moved to Decatur shortly after, where he became known as the singing center. He led his basketball team to the state Sweet Sixteen in 1955.” I did not know Mr. Maguire but he was obviously an important member of another of Decatur High School’s many championship-caliber teams coached by Gay Kintner.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the 60th anniversary of the 1962 Stephen Decatur High School State Basketball Championship team. However, it is well to remember that Decatur High School had many teams that made it to the “Sweet Sixteen” and beyond. In fact, Decatur High School won 3 state basketball championships and Stephen Decatur High School won in 1962. Every once-in-a-while I notice the passing of a member of one of the Reds’ great teams and it brings to mind how fortunate that person was to have played basketball at a school with so much sports history — and a legendary coach.
• AGREE — I don’t always agree with some of the statements, or tactics, of State Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) but I totally agree with a statement he sent to the news media a few days ago. Dan stated (in part): “The lesson we must learn from today’s events is very simple. Our energy policy – both here in Illinois and nationally – must be focused on independence and providing low-cost; reliable sources of energy to our residents and businesses. We must not be dependent on other states or nations. We have more resources and the ability to produce more energy that we can consume. To not use every asset we have to keep our state and country prosperous and productive is the wrong policy and will continue to erode our standard of living and freedoms.”
Dan is right. We must become more self-sufficient for our energy needs. in order to stay strong.