With Thursday’s 75th anniversary ceremonies for D-Day getting so much press, it would be easy to overlook the June 3-4 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations and massacre in Beijing, China. This is what China hopes the world will do. Indeed, the government has worked very hard over the years to try to memory-hole that entire atrocity by clamping down on any information about what happened, and how many innocent people it happened to.
In a way, Tiananmen Square is much like D-Day, only the bad guys won. A group of brave young freedom fighters, many still of student age, risking their lives to stand up against a brutal, violent totalitarian regime. They faced head-on a military armed with machine guns and heavy artillery, but unlike the soldiers of D-Day, they didn’t even have rifles. All they had was incredible courage and the hope that the government leaders commanding that military would have either enough basic human decency or fear of worldwide condemnation to order their troops to stand down. Tragically, neither was the case.
Before we turn our attention to D-Day, let’s take just a moment to remember the unknown victims of Tiananmen Square, the incredibly brave student who faced down a tank unarmed, and the demand for freedom that was brutally crushed by a government that still hides the truth today, even as we continue to enrich them by doing business with China on its own unfair terms. We must commemorate it because doing so in China is banned. Beijing even imposed an “information lockdown” Tuesday to insure that nothing was said or if it was, that nothing could be heard.
Vice President Mike Pence, the government of Canada and other world leaders called on China to make a full accounting of the victims of Tiananmen Square, but China responded as expected, by condemning critics for "grossly" intervening in their internal affairs, calling that "an affront to the Chinese people and a serious violation of international law." As if turning tanks and guns on unarmed Chinese students was not.
Some brave pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong did dare to commemorate the anniversary, as they worry about how long they will have enough freedom to do so under Chinese rule.
This is a must-read article by Fred Gedrich, who was on assignment for the State Department in Beijing when the massacre happened. He, at least, has the freedom to tell us what he saw on that infamous day.
Finally, kudos to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham for noticing something that also infuriated me when I saw it on TV during the coverage of President Trump’s visit to London. Naturally, the anti-Trump protesters got plenty of TV face time, including a woman who spoke for a small contingent of self-described communists. Laura picked the perfect word to describe them: “clueless.”
These people brand Trump as an autocratic dictator without giving the slightest thought to the fact that they had the freedom to protest in the streets and denounce leaders in public with no fear of being gunned down or crushed by tanks – and they were doing this on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre – while pushing the very same toxic philosophy represented by the actual communist dictators of China who gunned down unarmed protesters for criticizing them. That represents so many layers of foolish obliviousness, it’s like making a wedding cake out of stupidity. That woman’s Trump nickname should be “Betty Crock.”
The 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion is tomorrow, June 6th. But on Wednesday, the President and First Lady joined British Prime Minister Theresa May and other world leaders for a a 75th anniversary commemoration of the departure of British troops from the south coast of England to join the D-Day forces. The Royal British Legion brought about 300 of those surviving veterans, now aged 91 to 101, to the ceremony in Portsmouth.
Since the survivors are now few and very advanced in age, it’s likely this will be the last major anniversary that they will be able to attend, so Great Britain has vowed unprecedented events and ceremonies to honor them. You can read more at the link, see some terrific photos, and watch video of the ceremony (streaming live at this writing, it should be archived there by the time you see this.) You can also read about an amazing event that already took place in France, where U.S. Army Rangers climbed the jagged cliffs of Normandy's Pointe du Hoc to honor the soldiers who scaled them 75 years ago, with the Germans shooting at them as they climbed.
Worth noting: French President Emmanuel Macron was at the Portsmouth ceremony and is taking part in various D-Day events, but he’s spurred a furious backlash by declining to attend the main event at the center of the Juno Beach sector where British and Canadian troops joined the Allies storming ashore to liberate France.
Among the reasons (or excuses) for his absence: he’s concentrating on events focused on the French contribution to defeating the Nazis (fine, but can that not be done some time other than on the 75th anniversary of D-Day?); French Presidents normally only attend on 10-year anniversaries (as already noted, this is likely the last time veterans will be able to attend; they can’t wait until the 80th); and as the French Armed Forces Minister said, "I think it’s a question of planning, and it’s not that simple for the President to do everything, from a financial point of view.”
Considering that without the D-Day invasion and the soldiers who sacrificed their lives and limbs to liberate France, President Macron might today be a low-level bureaucrat in the German government of Paris, if he were alive at all, I would think he would be able to find the time to attend.
There’s more on this story at the link, along with some great photos, maps, actual D-Day invasion video footage, and fascinating background on D-Day that you might not know, including why it was called “D-Day” and what the “D” stands for.