My father was First Lieutenant Michael A. DeMarco, in the OSS Special Reconnaissance Regiment, Company B under General Donovan in the second World War. Their mission, coded PAT, parachuted 15 men into the Tarn in France with orders to “harass and destroy the enemy, cut German communications and supply routes and strengthen the resistance movement.” I have shared my Father’s memoir of that time, and now a broader history of the PAT Mission has been researched by Meredith Wheeler with a Fulbright Scholarship to support her research. http://www.ossreborn.com/files/OG_PAT_A_Fresh_LookPhotos1.pdf
As I read this history again, the words that send shivers through me to this day are: “Within two weeks, the south Tarn was liberated. Some 4500 Wehrmacht soldiers surrendered to 12 OSS men and a few hundred Resistance fighters‐—most of them poorly‐ armed, under‐trained maquis.” My parents named me Patricia in honor of this mission. I reflect on this Veteran’s Day on the legacy I carry from these brave people – a call to courage and a cry of hope.
Michael and Marcella DeMarco 1995
From my Father comes the tremendous courage to prevail in spite of the odds and obstacles. In all situations he brought caution, thorough preparation, ingenuity, and determination to the problem. This applied to recreational camping as well as to all domestic enterprises. So growing up in these conditions was often a challenge as we were constantly being prepared for battle, whether one materialized at once or not. From my Mother comes the outrageously defiant act of having a child in the wake of the atomic bomb. Her fierce determination to maintain hope and optimism in the face of gloom and disaster infused everyone she touched. I am so tremendously blessed to have such parents and the example of both of their lives of self-sacrifice, service and teaching.
In the aftermath of this election, I feel called in their honor to stand for what is ethically and morally necessary in the face of impending tyranny. As I have been reflecting on the serious implications of Trump’s election, I am torn with several emotions, including outrage that Democrats missed the pleas of the Sanders supporters so badly. People wanted a change, and Hillary was just too cautiously embedded in mainstream politics to resonate with their frustration. We are getting a change alright, but in the wrong direction!
Action from the passion of my soul is the only possible response. So, to all my friends and followers, I issue a call to action on three fronts:
1. Hold the people elected to account for the true principles guaranteed to ALL people by the Constitution. We cannot sit quietly while freedoms and protections for women, minorities, the environment are rolled back or undermined. Democracy is not a spectator sport with events once every four years. We must organize now and engage with voices and demands for accountability every day.
2. We must prepare to defend our environment, our public lands and wildlife refuges from the assault of “getting rid of regulations that hurt business.” Standing in front of the bulldozers and saws and mining equipment may be necessary, as demonstrated by the Standing Rock Sioux. This is our fate for the next two years at least. Our wild lands and our environment must be labeled: “Protected by the People for Our Children and Their Grandchildren”
3. We must organize and bring forward new leaders. The most passionate voices are those of the Millennials, but there is no room for them with 18 and 20 year tenured legislators, Congressmen, and Senators. We have to give voice to the generation whose fate we are determining with the policies adopted now. We have to let them step up and shape the world they will live in.
I take hope that in spite of the bombast and vituperative rhetoric of the campaign, Trump is a pragmatist under it all. He will be the ONLY world leader who does not support climate action. Peer pressure does work on such people as Trump. At the federal and international levels, the US may actually lose the leadership position on climate action Obama has crafted, but the many cities, states, businesses, communities and individuals who are committed to sustainability and resilience are not going to stop. Trump may make the federal supports harder, and the infrastructure more burdensome, but there is no way to stop this now. We need to keep the positive benefits of moving away from fossil fuels in front of the public eye. Local jobs, health benefits, long term environmental and economic stability – these things are not going away.
In the end, the laws of Nature are not negotiable. Reality will hit at some point as an undeniable condition. IF we are to survive at all and thrive in this world, we must absolutely preserve the life support system of our Earth- fresh water, clean air, fertile ground and the biodiversity of species that constitute the web of life. Humans are but one part, but we have dropped a boulder through the fragile web that holds us together. Prepare to stand and fight for what matters. Plunder and devastation in the name of “good business” may be legal, but it is not right – not for all the living things of Earth that have the right to exist, not for the children of our time or the unborn of future generations.
I remember the lessons of those brave men who jumped into the black night to defend freedom in a strange land, and I prepare for the existential battle for life on Earth.
August 10, 2017 at 9:53 am
Meredith Wheeler writing, Patricia.
Loved seeing this blog post–especially the description of your father! (But also fully agree with your political views–and since you wrote this, things have only gotten much worse….) Love to be in contact with you directly. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org/
If you have written more about your father, I’d be interested to read it! Kind regards, Meredith