Top of Mind Thursday – February 23, 2023: An Anniversary No One Is Celebrating

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Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of Russian troops invading Ukraine in an effort to re-integrate the country into Mother Russia.

No one expected things would go the way they have. Not Vladamir Putin, who thought the conflict would last a few days or weeks at most. Not the US or NATO. Not even the Ukrainians, who likely underestimated their own ability to persevere under the leadership of President Zelenskyy.

No one expected the conflict to cause worldwide disruptions in grain supply from Ukraine, or gas and oil pumped from Russia to Europe. Nor did we expect the global inflation that resulted from these disruptions.

Certainly, Putin never expected his actions would unite the Western World in a way we haven’t seen since World War II. Not only have the NATO nations strengthened their resolve, but Sweden and Finland have asked to join the alliance–as has Ukraine.

Through the bombings and the artillery attacks, the Ukrainian people have continued to hold fast. The damage has been devastating–both in terms of the loss of human life, but also towns and cities destroyed, bridges blown up, and families displaced.

Yet the Ukrainians are determined to hold fast, and the conflict has even resulted in bipartisan support in the US–something that’s in short supply these days. It’s hard to complain about every day inconveniences, when looking at what an average Ukrainian family is dealing with on a day-to day basis.

There’s a lesson for the rest of us: People can accomplish amazing things when our backs are against the wall and we face annihilation. Freedom and self-determination are always worth fighting for, and we can do incredible things when we collaborate and work together–in spite of our differences.

No one is happy about tomorrow’s one year anniversary. Let’s hope on this day in 2024 we are celebrating peace, not continued bloodshed.

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