I was eight in 1953 when we got our first television. I remember watching a news feed at the bottom of the screen repeating endlessly the news that Stalin was dead.
“Victory at Sea”, the documentary of World War Two, made a powerful impression on me. I can still see some of those images. One, in particular, had a lasting effect on me.
It was footage of Jews being rounded up off the street of some German city. One of them, I’ll never forget. He was about my age, well dressed, and there was a certain physical resemblance. This kid looked like me. He was being taken to the gas chambers, and he didn’t understand what was going on. He looked bewildered, and scared.
I was only nine, but I knew I was watching something truly evil. And if it could happen to that kid, it could happen to me. I never wanted that to happen, to me or to any other kid.
I quickly understood that the people that did that were Nazis, and that we had destroyed them in the war. My Uncle Fritz helped take Berlin with the 82nd Airborne. So they weren’t anything to worry about.
But at my grammar school, St. Cornelius, the nuns and priests told us about another type of evil, communism, that was just as bad as the Nazis,.
So, at around the age of ten, I determined to fight the Communists, and a life in politics began.