I'm Not Taking Down My Ukraine Flag

Thomas Smith

Photo byGado Images

Russia's aggressive war on Ukraine is now over a year old. Hundreds of thousands of people have died on both sides of the conflict, including tens of thousands of civilians.

When the war first began, I, like many Americans, rushed out to get a Ukraine flag. The flags became such a hot commodity at the beginning of the conflict that there were shortages, and people even began to make their own.

While lots of Americans started out flying a Ukraine flag, the enthusiasm slowly faded for many, and the flags came down. Maybe they wore out and weren't replaced, or people wanted to fly something they perceived as more cheerful.

The Ukraine flag is a symbol of the existence of a horrific conflict half a world away. A Halloween flag with some ghosts and pumpkins or a Thanksgiving flag with a friendly turkey is much more festive!

I never took my flag down, though, and I don't intend to--at least until the conflict is over.

The fading interest among Americans in flying the flag is probably a result of a war that has lasted far longer than many people expected. Initial projections were that Kiev would fall in days. Through the strong resistance of the Ukrainian military and people, the country has withstood an onslaught from a purportedly superior military for over a year.

The fact that the war has lasted far longer than expected is evidence of powerful resistance. And it's also evidence of the crucial role America has played in helping the Ukranian people to defend themselves.

We Americans have always considered ourselves the arsenal of democracy. And in this case, we've put our money (literally) where our mouths are. America has thus far sent $75 billion in military and other aid to Ukraine. It's a huge part of why Ukraine has been able to defend itself for so long, and to win so many decisive victories on the battlefield.

But the job is far from done. Sustaining a major resistance and winning victories in a war propagated by a major world power--with the backing of governments like China's--is no easy task. The Ukranians bring the resolve for the fight, but American and its European allies need to continue to bring the military kit and support that makes the continued resistance possible.

Just as many Americans have taken down their Ukraine flags, many have already turned against support for Ukraine. As the war continues, the desire to provide continued support will grow weaker among the Americans who already have reservations.

But we can't falter now. We've supported a free democratic people through the early stages of what, unfortunately, promises to be a protracted conflict against a well-armed, persistent and ruthless military power.

If we want to maintain our credibility as the protector of democracy--and ensure that the tens of thousands of Ukrainian deaths weren't in vain--we need to stay the course and continue to provide support until victory, whatever that ultimately looks like.

So that's why I'm still flying my Ukraine flag, more than a year after the conflict began. It's also why I'll continue to advocate for support of the Ukranian people with my voice and vote, and to offer support where I can.

A democratic people are standing up to a beligerant power with incredible bravery, and at an incredible cost to themselves. As Americans, the least we can do is lend our assistance--and show that we still notice, and still care.

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Award-winning entrepreneur, and the co-founder and CEO of Gado Images. Thomas writes, speaks and consults about artificial intelligence, privacy, food, photography, tech, and the San Francisco Bay Area. As a professional photographer, Thomas' photographic work regularly appears in publications worldwide. Pitches/news tips: tom@gadoimages.com

Lafayette, CA

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