Posted by: SJS | July 29, 2022

Doing the hard work of defending freedom

Ukrainian troops move against the Russians

Every day, whether the world is watching or not, Ukrainian men and women wake up, get out of bed, put on their helmets and body armor, and pick up their weapons. They then get busy defending their nation against the invading enemy whose goal is to wipe their country off the map. Every day, I remind myself that many of these noble Ukrainian fighters are my age (70) or older.

The Ukrainians have no time for complaining, making excuses, or denying the magnitude of danger they face. Whether the world is paying attention or not, the Ukrainian people accept the reality of their situation and deal with it. They’ve made it clear to anyone who cares that they won’t quit until the job is finished–and that job is to drive the murdering, criminal Russians out of their country.

A few months ago, these Ukrainian soldiers were teachers, pharmacists, construction workers, students, government administrators, truck drivers, retirees, and real estate agents. Many of them had never fired a weapon before Russia’s invasion in February of this year. When they “go to work” these days, their work involves assisting artillery units on the front lines, providing military logistical support, or pulling guard duty in a newly dug trench line. For the people of Ukraine, defending democracy is not an abstract concept or an academic debate. Defending freedom involves determination, endurance, facing fear and courage, courage, courage.

Like my father, Red Stahley, and all the other brave Americans of his remarkable generation, ordinary Ukrainians are demonstrating what it means to put one’s life on the line to defend democracy. America’s Greatest Generation taught us that freedom isn’t free and the brave Ukrainian people are demonstrating that truth again in real time.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed with the demands or life or feel tempted by self-pity, all I have to do is to remember what’s going on in Ukraine and it snaps me right out of any funk in which I find myself. Ordinary Ukrainian citizens my age–and many who are older–are facing down a vile, bloodthirsty enemy who commits large scale war crimes on a daily basis.

May the noble example of the Ukrainian people give us renewed energy and determination for doing the necessary work of preserving democracy and the precious freedoms we enjoy as Americans.

Glory to Ukraine!


  1. I think alike. Everyday I admire the courage of the Ukrainians. History will always remember them.

    • Thanks, Pierre, merci. Their courage inspires us all.

  2. Hear, hear!

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