Memorial Day message from Evelyn Farkas

I hope this message finds you safe and well on this Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is a day of reflection and remembrance for those who have given their lives for our nation.

Today, I think of those who fought to defend freedom across the generations, especially in World War II. On the frontlines across Europe and the Pacific, over 400,000 Americans gave their dying breath to defend the democracies of the world against the threat of fascism. World War II exemplifies the most righteous use of force—using American might against the most abhorrent abusers of humanity in defense of those ideals that bind the free peoples of the world. After the war, America led the way into a new world order, establishing democracies for the people of Germany and Japan, and making friends of our enemies.

For many, America stands as the shining image of a proud, successful, democracy, and refuge for those seeking freedom. I know this was true for my parents when they fled communist Hungary, dreaming of the liberty that life in America would bring.

Evelyn Farkas with Secretary Clinton at the Memorial Day Parade

Today, Americans are being asked to make great sacrifices as we confront COVID-19, a new, confusing, and invisible enemy. Sacrifices are being made daily by those on the frontlines, and as we lose nurses and other front line workers, let us remember that their sacrifice in this crisis is no less courageous than the men who stormed Omaha Beach.

Here in our community, in my hometown of Chappaqua, Memorial Day has always been a highlight of the year.  I’ve attended our annual Memorial Day parade for most of my life—it is an opportunity to catch up with old friends and feel a sense of community pride. In any other year, I would be walking alongside the parade with my sister, who volunteers with the ambulance corp in Chappaqua.

As the death toll from COVID-19 nears 100,000, it is for the best that we do not gather this year in celebration of Memorial Day. Yet we can still look back and appreciate what we have and the sacrifices that have been made for our country.

Today, I am thinking about those who give their lives for our nation. Whether in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq—or at Westchester Medical Center (where my mother worked as a pharmacist for over 20 years) or Montefiore Nyack Hospital—those who gave their lives to keep us safe have earned our eternal gratitude.

I hope we can use the important lessons of the past to guide us courageously into a safer, more democratic, and more just future.

Evelyn Farkas

One Comment

  1. Avatar András B. Göllner says:

    It is important indeed to remember what is best in America, but not at the expense of forgetting what is worst: namely, the violations she committed and continues to commit against her own sacred principles and at no time more so than today.

    Looking at our past through rose tinted glasses is the best way to ensure we never confront the demons that lead us time and time again into temptation. Forgetting our mistakes will only ensure that we will repeat them.

    The white settlers’ brutalization of America’s first nations, their open embrace of slavery, the rampant discrimination and exploitation of blacks, encouraged, excused and promoted right up to the 1970s by America’s “Dixiecrats” in Washington, the relentless humiliation and abuse of working men and women by the type of capitalism America glorifies and spreads around the world today, the hijacking of American Democracy by the moneyed classes, the Koch Brothers and their friends, the Supreme Court’s ruling on behalf of Citizen United, America’s lifelong embrace of petty dictators and hooligans who are permitted to keep their people enslaved, and ill informed all around the world as long as they give safe passage to America’s billionaire class (Witnes the indecency of Trump’s diamond merchant, David Cornfeld in Budapest, listen to Trump’s obscene praise of the tyrant in North Korea“Chairman Kim just loves his people”, or his praise of the Hungarian Kleptocrat: “Viktor Orbán is a great leader of her people”). These are also essential elements of the American reality that we should acknowledge and confront on Memorial Day, and not to spoil the party, but to prevent it from becoming a glorification of the Animal House on Pennsylvania Avenue.

    America has become a pale shadow of herself, and it’s not her working men and women who brought her here, but the rich, Christian white men, who won’t listen to anything but their pocket books, their greedy impulses, and who will do anything to derail this great country from the path of justice, equality under the law, and ecologically sustainable development.

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