See Part 1.
As Ritchie fought the spread of communism in Southeast Asia and the enemy within the borders of our nation gathered strength, a spark of hope burned in the hearts of citizens living under the dark cloak of communism in other countries.
While You Were Fighting
While Ritchie and our other troops fought, bled, and died for the preservation of freedom, a young girl lay awake behind the Iron Curtain in communist Romania. A five-year-old girl stands in line with her grandmother for hours on end to obtain basic household staples like bread, milk, and clean water. That same five year old sits beside an older man, a family friend, dying from an easily cured condition, but left without medical care because he is past the cut-off age for government health care services – the only health care option available in Romania at the time. She feels his hand grow cold as he passed from this world. The last spark of the carefree child slips away with the old man.
But there was one thing, one idea, one power that struck fear in the hearts of communists – America. Just to speak it caused them to quake. She clung to the idea of America and dreamed about what freedom looks like, what a hamburger tastes like, and what life outside of fear feels like.
Knowing her grandfather was a priest, she was threatened for going to church; yet, that made her attend church even more.
As time trudges by in that bleak existence, her desperation to escape the hopelessness of communist oppression grows. While most young girls dream of a knight in shining armor, or of pretty dresses and toys; she dreams of American fighter pilots and soldiers rescuing her from Romania. She listens with her grandfather to Radio Free Europe on their short-wave radio every day. News of the Americans fighting communists in Vietnam gave new hope to all those who felt forgotten and discarded by the world – those living behind the Iron Curtain.
In hushed tones and barely audible whispers, she reveals the magnitude of her despair to her grandfather – the only person she truly trusts. She tells him she hopes American pilots and soldiers come to Romania and destroy the entire country, to level it. She doesn’t care if she dies in the process. She longs for freedom from the dark and despair of Soviet rule – whatever the cost.
And the Darkness Shall Not Overcome It
That girl went on to escape from Romania and arrive in her beloved America with only a bag of clothes. That girl is now a woman. She is Mariana Ritchie, wife of Brigadier General Steve Ritchie. Her light shines like a beacon as she and Steve Ritchie speak at events and conferences all over the nation.
Speaking for a few minutes after Steve delivers his compelling war stories and inspiring perspectives on life and prosperity, Mariana imparts detailed accounts of the horror and cruelty endured by those living under the oppressive rule of communism. She recounts the grueling details of her escape and her joy as she reached the shores of America.
This dynamic duo spread their infectious love of the American Dream to everyone they encounter. Those who attend private events featuring the Ritchies will hear about their unique and experiential perspectives on recent developments in American culture and incidences in foreign lands that involve Americans. The Ritchies speak from experiences that have given them unique insight that they use to motivate and empower others to see opportunities more clearly and appreciate them more fully.
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Posted on Mon, January 7, 2013