I think we all have defining moments in our lives that send us traveling along a different path. As I have grown older, I have become more circumspect and lately I find myself doing a lot of thinking about the life I have lived.
You'll often hear me talk about my sixteenth year and other defining moments from my past. First, that was the year my hero was born, the year when I first heard the words of Winston Churchill. That speech that day not only inspired me, but was the beginning of my life-long passion for the written and spoken word.
Many years later, after the Oklahoma bombing, I wrote:
"When I was sixteen, I read a book about the uprising of Polish Jews who were being systematically slaughtered by the Nazis during World War II. When I had finished the book, I remember saying to myself, "No one told me." Among my parents, teachers - all of the adults I relied upon for information - no one told me of the near extinction of an entire race. From that day forward, my life was changed, for at 16, I learned of the evil inherent in man.
I have since become a student of that war. It was of global proportions and what I believe to have been the ultimate battle on earth between good and evil. Never before or since in the history of man were so many people prepared to step forward in our darkest hour to drive the devil back into the burning pit whence he came.
We won the war, but the battles against evil rage on. One need look no farther than to these United States, which are threatened from within. Look to Oklahoma City and weep for our nation. To those people who accuse our government officials of being jackbooted Nazis, I say, "you don't know what you are talking about." Adolf Hitler and his followers were nothing but a bunch of thugs who had the capability to arm themselves and then proceeded to terrorize a nation into submission. Hitler gained power by sowing the seed of fear, promoting intolerance and making false promises. He spewed forth his hatred to cast its pall over an entire continent.
I see no difference between Hitler and these fanatic groups that have sprung up around the country. They're armed and dangerous. They cloak themselves in secrecy and rant and rave about their constitutional rights, while plotting the overthrow of our elected government.
Let us remember how precious are the freedoms that we enjoy."
Boy, how things have changed. After the election cycle that we have just endured and with the rise of the demagogue, Donald Trump, we all must remain vigilant.