Ukraine citizens die at the hands of Russian military
Dan Tackett, Lincoln Courier – April 16, 2022
Dan Tackett is a retired managing editor of The Courier.
We, the people who live within the borders of the United States, have it made. Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, Black, Caucasian or “other,” rich, poor or in between, our lives are pretty decent. Christian, Muslim, Jew, agnostic, atheist, whatever your beliefs or non-beliefs are, you at least can find peace in our great land.
Travel the globe and you might not find that to be the case elsewhere. I’m referring specifically to Ukraine. The country is being ravaged by a bloody war waged by a power-hungry madman.
A month ago, Ukrainians had good homes, schools, hospitals, farm fields and sea ports. People there had quiet, peaceful nights of sleep, climbed out of beds in the morning and headed off to schools or jobs in offices, factories, farms and shipping terminals. They returned home daily to spend good and happy times with families and loved ones. Lives being led there were not that different than those lived across the ocean in America.
That was then. Now, the world watches as the 24-hour news cycles describe on a daily basis how common life in Ukraine has turned into a bloodbath for its citizens. We expect soldiers to lose their lives in battles, but who among the civilized people of the world expects mothers, children, babies, the elderly and the defenseless to perish at the hands of an unflinching enemy? These aren’t isolated incidents involving the deaths of a few. Thousands have died at the hands of the Russian military.
It’s chilling to watch. People with hands bound and their bodies riddled with bullets as they lay dead on the streets. Large apartment and office buildings blown to bits. Entire cities reduced to rubble. Bomb craters pocking the once orderly landscape.
This isn’t Adolph Hitler’s Europe, but it resembles everything us Boomers have learned about those dark days of history. This is Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s doing, the vile, unspeakable acts carried out in the blink of an eye with no respect whatsoever for human life. So, this is war. It’s something our generation has never before witnessed.
Back in the good old U.S.A., we are preparing to celebrate and observe one of the most sacred of Christian holidays. Many Americans will don their finest Sunday garb and head to Easter services at the church of their choice. Lots of us will plop down at the dining table with families for a traditional holiday feast. We will linger after our meals and enjoy the peace and quiet and revel in the love of our families. No artillery shells or bombs will be exploding in our front yards.
Come Easter Sunday, will we even have thoughts during our peaceful celebrations about the hellish environment Russia has brought on Ukraine? About the deep miseries Ukrainians are experiencing over the loss of their homes and loved ones?
My Easter wishes for you, dear readers, is this: Do enjoy this blessed day and share your blessings with those you love. Love, after all, is a precious thing. But keep Ukraine and Ukrainians in your hearts and on your mind. They are fighting for a way of life that we Americans enjoy and too often take for granted. No, ours is not a perfect way of life. We have many scars and sore points that always seem to need attention. Sometimes attention is given; at other times, flames surrounding our divisive issues are only fanned.
If you are one who believes in prayer, say one for our fellow human beings in Ukraine.
And, a blessed and happy Easter to you all.
I’M NOT DISAPPEARING
This past week, I’ve received a couple of notes from readers who are upset that after April 30, The Courier will no longer print and distribute copies of its Saturday editions. Beyond that date, the Saturday newspaper won’t be a paper at all; it will only be available in digital, online form at lincolncourier.com.
The letter writers are aware of that change, but they have a problem: They don’t have computers or cell phones with Internet access. Specifically, they voiced concerns about their inability to read my column each week. I’m quite flattered.
I started writing columns for The Courier’s Saturday editions in 2012, after I had left the newspaper’s news staff after nearly 45 years, first as a wet-behind-the-ears cub reporter and at the tail end, as The Courier’s managing editor. Somewhere along those four and a half decades, my red blood had morphed into the midnight black of newspaper ink.
I was encouraged to write a weekly column by a Gatehouse executive who was involved with my departure from the staff. “It will be a way to stay connected with your readers,” he told me. The exec dangled a carrot – a slim carrot, mind you – of paying a few bucks for each column I produced. Carrots aside, I didn’t take him up on the offer.
I never wrote a single word for the newspaper until December 2012, when I received a phone call from Nathan Woodside, who I had hired as a reporter before my departure. He mentioned the death of longtime Lincoln Alderman Orville “Buzz” Busby. I had covered Lincoln City Council meetings for almost 40 years and had come to know and respect Busby for his outspoken ways during those meetings.
“We really need to publish an editorial or column about this guy, and nobody on staff really had any dealings with him,” Woodside said. “Nobody on staff knew him, not like you did.” He asked if I would do the honors. Yes, I replied, and what an honor it was. I truly thought Busby was one of the best aldermen during my tenure of covering city government. On Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, The Courier published the column I wrote about Busby and, since then, I’ve never stopped writing.
To address the concerns of those wonderful letter-writers, fear not! I’m not hanging up my pen, and I’m not turning into Digital Dan. Beginning May 4, my column will start appearing in the Wednesday print editions of The Courier. So, to those worried gals who sent me those notes, don’t do anything foolish such as buying a home computer or cell phone.