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Editor, The Beacon:

Tanks are important components of our incredible military power, but they are also symbols of brutal oppression.

Few of today’s adults, let alone young people, recall the realities of the Cold War that gripped Eastern Europe in the 1960s-1980s. Dictators, communists (real communists, not the fake foxNews conflated variety) and Russian puppet leaders implemented iron control over the people of many countries recently liberated by the victorious allies: East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Balkan states and others. NATO was created to deter this growing menace.

Throughout those years, tanks became a terrifying symbolic weapon to use to intimidate and control populations who yearned for the democratic freedoms guaranteed in the United States and blossoming in other liberal, free democracies of Western Europe. Whenever a communist regime felt threatened, they rolled out hundreds of tanks, to protect the oppressing regime by surrounding parliament buildings and communist institutions against legitimate protest and resistance. Dictators, surrounded by tanks on all sides, made their points.

What we saw July 4 on our National Mall was not patriotic or a show of military power from the world’s most powerful nation. It was not about impressing those who might attack us from abroad.

Actually, Kim Jung Un would sneer at a few dozen armored vehicles in D.C., delivered by Amtrak. This display is less about impressing America’s adversaries than demonstrating the power available to a dictator wannabe who would love to take away hard-won protections guaranteed by our Constitution.

Lee Downer