Back in 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell, I was watching the news broadcast covering the event with my father when I asked him, “Do you think it’s really over?”

He looked at me and said, “How do you mean?”

I said, “Communism. Do you think this is the beginning of the end of communism?”

To which he replied, “I don’t know. But the communists have always said that one way or another, someday they’ll rule the world.”

He was quite serious.

My father has had a lot of experience fighting communism. He has seen firsthand the nature of the principle, and understands the inherent evil that lies therein.

When he first joined the Army Air Corps, it was the height of World War II and there was chaos reigning in Europe and the Pacific Basin. He was a little underage, but they needed every able-bodied soul who was willing to fight for freedom. My father was willing, so they smudged his age.

By the time he finished basic training, World War II was over. But his passion for flying remained, and his strong sense of patriotism kept him in the military for a few more years.

After he checked out of the Army Air Corps, he returned to school, only to be called back into service with the U.S. Air Force when the Korean conflict began heating up.

They sent him abroad, skilled in flying, but with little aerial combat training. Back then, it was mostly on-the-job training. Survivors went on to teach others.

The Korean Conflict, also known as the “Forgotten War,” was the first U.N.-endorsed engagement following the end of World War II. Communist North Korea, backed by the People’s Republic of China, had engaged in a surprise attack on South Korea, with hopes of taking the entire Korean Peninsula.

The South Koreans needed help, and fast. In response, some 15 nations sent in troops to assist in the effort, and three years and 3 million dead souls later, the war ended exactly where it began: on the 38th parallel. To this day, there remains an uncomfortable d?tente between the two nations, regardless of what Madeleine Albright believes.

A decade later, the South Vietnamese were beginning to have some serious problems with the North Vietnamese. Again, our country came to the cause of fighting for freedom, but back home, our emotions were mixed. Times had changed, and as the conflict escalated, the protesters protested and the draft dodgers dodged and servicemen returning from service were spit upon and tagged as “baby killers.” That’s when honor and duty were burned with the American flag, and intellectuals touted communism as utopia while American soldiers walked gingerly through booby-trapped jungles and POWs tapped messages to each other in 4′ by 8′ cells.

All the while, this freedom to protest was protected by men like my father, who fought against the very ideology that stole from people at the point of a gun the freedom to speak their minds, to chose their livelihood, to determine the course of their own lives.

And South Vietnam fell to the slavery that is communism.

You don’t hear much about communism today, except in little excerpts that abound spouting equality and anti-discrimination and anti-anti-communists. You bring up the word at all and you’re likely to hear someone dryly comment, “I thought McCarthyism was dead.”

I wasn’t around for McCarthyism, and from what I’ve heard, maybe, just maybe, they were a little zealous in their prosecutions of communist sympathizers.

But when one objectively views the grotesque nature of communism and those murdered in its wake and the lives demented and souls crippled, maybe, just maybe, they weren’t zealous enough.

In a little book that surprisingly fell in my lap one day titled, “The Dynamics of Freedom,” the author dedicates a third of the manuscript to recognizing and fighting communism. It tells of communism’s history and of all of the countries that had succumbed. Between 1917 and 1959 (the book was published before the outcome of Vietnam was known), 27 countries representing 40 percent of the world’s population came under communist dictatorship.

And while many of the countries mentioned have theoretically given way to democracy since the Berlin Wall came down, most have really just been replaced with “socialist democracies” representing government that stiflingly and increasingly dictates the manner in which people may live their lives, orchestrates the manner in which businesses may operate and tells organizations how they may or may not behave.

Under the guise of the “will of the people,” this subterfuge of humanity increasingly operates with brutal force and razor-sharp cunning. It claims the interest of commonality, draws the weak in to give it strength, and then uses that strength to enslave its own people.

If political ideologies could be compared to diseases, capitalism would resemble allergies. Some people are affected by them, and some people aren’t, but rare is the instance they cripple or kill. Socialism would be like the flu, every year it comes around, and every year it affects millions.

It makes one awfully sick, affects the quality of life and often kills the weak, the old and the infirm.

But communism, this one is like the AIDS virus.

You know it’s going around. You know that it’s epidemic in some countries, but there are no apparent symptoms until it’s too late.

And it condemns everyone to a slow, painful death.

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