Last’s week election and its aftermath are confirming the breadth and depth of divisiveness in our not-so-United States, to the peril of the great experiment in self-governance the nation’s founders laid out nearly a quarter-millennium ago, and its current place in the pantheon of world powers. Over half the country is hoping a change in political leadership will help break the logjam, but if politics is so much the problem, how can it really be the solution? There must be a better way.

Besides, aren’t we placing too much power into the hands of one person, like the man on…


On Saturday, 19 June 2021, local American Legion Riders, National Service Ride, and Hudson Valley Veterans Task Force and especially Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club riders led the first Juneteenth Underground Railroad Freedom Ride through Orange County, NY.

To commemorate the new national holiday, the nearly 40 riders started at Port Jervis, the entry point for the Underground Railroad into New York on the Delaware & Hudson Canal and later the Erie Railroad for fugitive slaves seeking freedom in the North and Canada. Before the rail line, most came over a network of turnpikes and other roads, finding refuge in homes…


The pandemic we’re coming out of is presenting us an opportunity to rethink how we can relate to each other than in Zoom meetings and social media memes. One of the more encouraging things to see is our expanding understanding of service and sacrifice beyond those in the armed forces.

Since especially 9/11, the military has been the most respected institution in our society. That wasn’t always true. Such reverence has been more an exception than the rule in our history. Prior to World War II, our armed forces were traditionally kept small in peacetime. …


This is the eulogy I gave for my mother last weekend — we were finally able to lay her to rest on August 22nd after she passed away from COVID-19 on May 2nd. May it be as inspirational for you as my mother’s life was for me.

[From Travels with Harley — Journeys in Search of Personal & National Identity…]

“My mother is the most courageous person I know. She had a miserable childhood in wartime and postwar England, living in poverty and abandonment. Even though she had plenty of reasons to be, she was never mean-spirited toward us. She…


Photo by the Camden County Police Department in boredpanda.com

As editor of my high school newspaper, I interviewed our principal, Herbert Fliegner. Starting in the Hitler Youth, he was pressed, as a child soldier, to defend Berlin, then again involuntarily inducted into the Young Pioneers in the Soviet zone before escaping to West Germany. After he emigrated to the United States, the Army drafted him. Unlike most Americans, with conscription in three national armies, Mr. Fliegner experienced three modern forms of government — fascism, communism, and democracy.

During the discussion of freedom of expression, including inflammatory articles in our paper and spontaneous student protests, Mr. Fliegner peered at me…


Over the past few years, every time I heard people thank me for my military service, I responded by asking them about their own careers. Some tell me about their public service as police officers, firefighters, emergency responders, civil servants, teachers, journalists, and so on. Others talk about their volunteer or charity work in their communities. To which my response is always: “Well, then, thank you for your service.”

At times I’ve received strange looks or a dismissal that it’s not the same thing. “It’s one thing to defend your country; it’s another to have a country worth defending,” I…

Christopher Holshek

Christopher Holshek, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.) is author of Travels with Harley — Journeys in Search of Personal and National Identity

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