LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Finding The Courage To Speak Out

This is my father (right), who was in the U.S. Army during World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War.  As an 18-year-old, he got on the ship, the Queen Elizabeth, and shipped to England, where he fought against the Nazis and was on the beaches of Normandy.

When I wonder if I have the courage to speak out against racism and neo-Nazis, I remind myself of the courage of my parents, and this steels me to be strong. He did not make the sacrifices he has made in his life so that I can be a coward.

When I wonder if I have the fortitude to be outspoken, I think about my father-in-law (left), who was shot down in the Pacific during World War II, but came home, built a business and raised a family, serving the community of Hettinger, N.D., with honor and decency.

When I wonder if I have the backbone to speak out against injustice, I think about my husband (right), who left his life in North Dakota, where he would rather have been fishing and hunting, and served his country during the Vietnam War.

When I wonder if I have anything to say about the difficulties we face in our country, I remember my brother (below), who devoted an entire career to the U.S. Navy and would expect no less of me.

I have a very clear memory as a little girl of singing the song in church “Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world.” I may be a soft-voiced woman, but I am also a writer and my words can matter. Our individual voices speaking out, in hope of a better world, are what matter. Our service to others, in hope of a better world, is what matters.

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