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They Came to Liberate, Not To Conquer

{3:54 minutes to read}

They Came to Liberate, Not To Conquer by Ada HasloecherYou will likely be reading this after the July 4th holiday, but I wrote it right after the Memorial Day weekend. There is a synergy about the timing.

During the Memorial Day weekend this year, as every year, there were lots and lots of movies and documentaries on TV extolling the virtues, triumphs, and tragedies of the wars that were fought to defend our and our allies’ freedoms throughout our history.

On PBS, there were several documentaries which were replayed from a few years ago when we celebrated the 70th anniversary of D-Day – particularly the invasion of Omaha Beach in Normandy. So much is told about the actual beach episode, but not much is told about the servicemen who flew behind enemy lines into the sleepy and dense farm fields to secure towns, in order to make the beachfront attack more advantageous.

For the 70th anniversary celebration in Normandy, the French government invited dignitaries, political leaders, and most importantly, those remaining World War II veterans, most of whom were in their late 80s and 90s at that time, and who were treated like rock stars (to the great astonishment of these humble men).

So many things struck me about theses documentaries, not the least of which were:

  1. That the towns in the Normandy region of France continue to have an annual and solemn ceremony honoring the allies (the United States, in particular) for liberating France. As one young person put it: “If it wasn’t for the Americans, I would be speaking German now.”
  2. Speaking of young people – the celebrations are a full-fledged affair. People of ALL ages take part. And it’s not a “have to” or a day off from school. These citizens, both young and old, are truly grateful for their freedom, which they grant, in no small part, to the allies who liberated their country.
  3. The veterans do not consider themselves heroes. They said their fellow soldiers, who sacrificed their young lives for the cause and were buried in that ground, were the true heroes.
  4. The French consider this region sacred ground. The cemetery and memorial reminded me of Arlington National Cemetery. It is meticulously and lovingly attended to.
  5. And finally, this line (and I’m paraphrasing here) spoken by one of the town officials overseeing the commemoration: “Most countries who invade another country do so in order to conquer it. The Americans didn’t do that. They came to liberate France, not to conquer her.” Wow!

So this got me thinking about what we mediators attempt to do. We help to liberate our couples to find their best solutions; to find their best selves. We do not tell them what to do or compel them to do something we think they should do. It’s tempting, because everyone thinks they know what’s best for someone else. But we mediators are trained to step out of the way and be as invisible a guide as we can. We are trained to be of service to our clients. We come to liberate, not to conquer.

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Ada L. Hasloecher

Divorce Mediator / Center Founder
Divorce & Family Mediation Center, LLC
Phone: 631-585-5210
eMail: Info@DFMCLI.com
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