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SPOTLIGHT
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Lessons forgotten

Published on -9/18/2012, 2:40 PM

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Sometimes the most noteworthy newspaper articles containing the most pressing news are one to two small paragraphs found in the corners with no big headlines, often unread or unappreciated.

Last month, I took notice to a short, two-paragraph article in the Salina (Catholic) Diocese newspaper which was titled, "Vietnamese authorities replace chapel items." The article explains how government authorities from a district in Vietnam's Central Highlands forced ethnic villagers to remove Catholic pictures and items from their chapel and replaced them with images of the late communist leader Ho Chi Minh.

The Asian church news agency UCA News reported authorities from Kon Thuc hamlet visited the Catholics on Aug. 12 and asked them to remove the items. They then put two pictures of Ho Chi Minh in the places where the cross and Marian picture had been.

That's it ... 85 words. How short, simple and easy to read yet just as easy to ignore, pass up and forget. While we easily remember the victims of 9/11 on a yearly basis, do we easily forget those that served our country during darker and, less patriotic days. I recall my junior year in high school, we were required to fulfill a state requirement of submitting an intense research paper that took much time, energy, and effort. My topic -- the Vietnam War.

In my study was the varied argued reasons why we, the USA, were even involved with the most popular, of course politically, to stop the spread of communism. But why? What is so wrong with communism? I know my deceased grandparents could sternly tell me why, but I am very much afraid that today's youth and even many parents today whose children are still in school wouldn't be able to give a confident answer if their child asked without having to think and say "uhm"' a few times in their explanation. So it only makes sense why reading the article above may not have much "significant" meaning if you didn't understand its importance. Seventeen years later, can I finally thank the Kansas Department of Education for its research paper requirement or would I myself even give it much thought?

With that being said, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Vietnam veterans (and their families) who fought for our (and others around the world) freedom of religion. Your service and the loss of life did not go in vain but instead toward the valid effort in trying to prevent, for example 57 years later since the war began, people in Vietnam from being forced to remove their religious items and forfeit their religious liberty in 2012.

Please do not ignore history, and please use it to understand its correlation to challenges that exist today. Communist fundamentalist and founding father of the Chinese communist regime Mao Tse Tung said "religion is poison." And even today, here in our own country, our freedom of religion is being attacked.

Having attended the Religious Freedom Rally in Topeka brings me to question whether or not so many even know or understand what is going in our own country? Should a nationwide mandated research project on the topic of the USA today be required so our youth, our future, can appreciate and understand even better the world they live in and the future for which they will be held responsible for correcting or surrendering to? And lastly, how many small two-paragraph significant articles are we overlooking and thus and then unwittingly complying ourselves to in regards to letting history repeat itself?

J.J. Deges

Bogue

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