My television showed a war scene with a partially shredded teddy bear strewn amid the bomb-shattered rubble of what was once a family home in the Ukraine. As I was viewing this tragic scene, I could also see my grandchildren’s childhood teddy bear out of the corner of my eye. Still wearing its Chicago Bear’s football sweater, now tattered, our 40-year-old-plus teddy bear rests comfortably on a child’s rocking chair in our family room. The “war” it has survived involved dog chewing and children lovingly tugging at it.

As I sat in the comfort and safety of my family room, I couldn’t imagine my home and our family teddy bear being blown to fiery bits. In such horrific circumstances, what would I do? What would I save? Where would I go? How would I get there? Everyone else around me and I would be seeking safe shelter and food. Suddenly I felt great fear. I can’t fathom such a tragedy now occurring, multiplied by millions of people. The United Nations has estimated there are over 4 million Ukrainian refugees, and that number is increasing exponentially. Most, with only one suitcase or shopping bag in hand, have fled their homes, and are now primarily crowding into Poland, Romania, and Hungary.

This tragedy was caused by a power-mad leader, “without a soul,” willing to sacrifice human beings to satisfy his lust. I shudder to imagine what would have occurred here in the United States if Trump had been re-elected president in 2020. Undoubtedly, he’d have pressed us to be an ally of Russia. There would have been no consolidation of NATO as Biden has accomplished. There would have been no help authorized for the independent democracy of Ukraine.

The symbol of that tattered and partially burned teddy bear on TV achingly speaks volumes. We cannot just feel sad for the Ukraine. We Americans must support the Ukrainian people, in the name of their democracy and ours, too.

Harriet Hausman
River Forest

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