Pella Chronicle

Religion

May 16, 2013

“Always Remember”

Pella —

By  Rev. Chuck Muether
Pastor of Hope Reformed Presbyterian Church
As we prepare to lift up our flags, adorn grave markers with flowers and remember those who have died for our freedom, may we also reflect upon the collective toll war has had upon our nation and not forget that with every soul lost, a treasured piece of our national mosaic goes missing. 
We have fought many a good fight, but there have been occasions when the cause seemed blurred, or we lost sight of the original aim of a military campaign. We as a nation are not alone in balancing our support for the troops while working through the ethics of past questionable missions.
On May 9, President Vladimir Putin and Russia celebrated Victory Day. Putin gave a rousing short speech, memorializing the Red Army that helped defeat Nazi Germany 68 years ago. Victory Day is arguably Russia’s most celebrated secular holiday, honoring the nation’s military history and noting the civilian losses of World War II while showing off the country's modern arsenal. “We will always remember that it was Russia, the Soviet Union, that ruined the misanthropic, bloody, arrogant plans of the fascists,” Putin told the 11,000 servicemen standing in tight formation on the Red Square.
Will Russia, or then the Soviet Union, “always remember” what it did in 1932? Soviet leader Josef Stalin unleashed genocide in the little recognized “Ukrainian Holocaust.” He mobilized 25,000 troops from Moscow to force 10 million Ukrainian peasants into collective farms. Stalin, determined to crush Ukraine’s growing spirit of nationalism, force-starved an entire nation. 
Grain, silage, farm animals, and machinery were confiscated from Ukraine's farms, but those efforts were only slowly moving Ukraine to its national knees. To destroy further Ukrainian resistance, 10,000 Ukrainians were shot weekly. Eighty percent of all Ukrainian intellectuals were executed. Finally the campaign to mass starve Ukraine was accomplishing its goal and Ukrainians were compelled to eat their pets, boots and belts, plus bark and roots even infant children. Between seven and nine million died and twenty-five percent of the entire population was exterminated. 

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