Alone in Berlin ©

Alone in Berlin. That’s the title of an excellent feature length film my wife and I watched on Netflix last week. As you know, great films are few and far between so when we find one I like to share it with the readers of this column. I need to say right from the outset that I don’t endorse all things Netflix. I certainly don’t! But, at least you get to choose what to watch and rate it.

We chose to watch Alone in Berlin and I’m glad we did. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis of the movie:

Alone in Berlin is a 2016 war drama film directed by Vincent Pérez and written by Pérez and Achim von Borries, based on the 1947 fictionalized novel Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada. The novel’s characters Otto and Anna Quangel are based on Otto and Elise Hampel. When their son dies in France, the couple start writing postcards to urge people to protest against Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. The film stars Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson, and Daniel Brühl. Principal photography began on 27 March 2015 in Berlin. It was selected to compete for the Golden Bear at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.[1]

The plot is compelling in large part because it is a true story about a courageous, grieving couple in Nazi Germany. The technical aspects of the film, the acting, directing and cinematography are equally well done. You won’t be bored if you chose to watch it.

But it was much more than just another war story. To both my wife and me, we saw parallels to what we are experiencing right here and now in 21st century America. In Hitler’s Germany, it started with political correctness which led to suppression of speech then marginalization and finally outright persecution of anyone who disagreed with the goals and actions of His Third Reich.

Here, in the good old USA, we’re in the political correctness phase. Certain groups, ethnicities and sexual behaviors are off limits to criticism by the mainstream press while it’s open season on Christians and anti Semitism is on the rise.

This is a 180 degree turn around from when we were kids and I suppose for many of you as well. Why, I actually remember, with great fondness I might add, how Miss Smith and Mrs. Wells , my kindergarten and first grade teachers respectively, used to read as a psalm and lead us in the Lord’s prayer every morning right there in our PUBLIC Roosevelt Elementary school. And then, before any Reading, Writing or Arithmetic was taught (no brainwashing about sexual orientation ever crossed anyone’s mind back then), they led us in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Stars and Stripes,……and the One nation, for which it stands, with liberty and justice for All!

Most of us seniors grew up in this kind of education system and culture and it served us well. We need to be vigilant that these values are not stolen from our children and grandchildren. If we don’t stay involved, the soul of the America we grew up in can be stolen in one election even as Hitler stole Germany’s soul.

I hope you enjoy Alone in Berlin as much as we did.

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!

Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com

President’s Day, A Somber Senior Reflection

True confession: this is an update of a column I wrote in 2011 but the memories and the message are even more relevant today as we celebrate President’s Day, 2019.

I expect most of the people reading this column are seniors like me, and remember with fond recollection our elementary school days when we honored both Lincoln’s birthday on Feb 12th and Washington’s birthday on Feb 22nd. I still remember cutting out silhouettes of both of those great presidents and pasting them with that white paste that smelled so good and got smeared on everything within a few feet, onto colored “construction paper” and bringing them home to mom as my “artwork”.

Like a lot of other fond memories, that all changed in 1971 with the “Uniform Holidays Act” moving the federal holiday to the third Monday in February. Oddly enough, that insured that “President’s Day” could never again fall on Washington’s actual birthday of Feb 22. To me that was sort of a bad omen.

My earliest memories of presidents I actually lived under go back to Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower. I remember them talking to us during our booming post war economies on our 10 inch black and white TV alongside Ozzie and Harriet.

Fast forward sixty plus years and I’m afraid those days are long gone because of our looming federal debt and lack of political will, leadership and common sense to have a balanced federal budget. During our lifetimes we have gone from the largest creditor nation to the largest debtor nation because of this irresponsibility. While I was not a fan of Bill Clinton, I certainly respect the fact that during his second term in office the country ran a yearly budget surplus through 2001 and in his final State of the Union address, President Clinton said the United States should continue to balance its books and pay off the debt entirely. (Wikipedia).

The Bible has a lot to say about money, spending and borrowing. If we hadn’t thrown the Bible out of our public schools (I can still hear Miss Smith reading the Psalms to us in kindergarten every mooring) our political leaders might realize that Proverbs 22:7 says “….The borrower is servant to the lender” and because of that unshakable principle, we are now servants to the Chinese. We have borrowed ourselves into their servitude and it’s not a very comfortable feeling, let alone, politically or economically viable.

I am thankful for some of the political leaders we have in Washington and their zeal for correcting the economic course of our ship of state. I wish them well indeed. It is my sincere prayer for our nation on this President’s Day that we will gather our national will, courage and commonsense together to balance our federal budget so our grandkids can cut and paste the silhouette of a great US President who will lead us out of this bondage into financial prosperity once again.

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!!

Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com

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