Northern Strike shows how far we’ve come

There has been a lot of excitement in the air recently with Northern Strike operations at Alpena’s base, and rightfully so. It is, no doubt, a tremendous thing to have happening in our small town and one that reminds us all about how very real and close to home our national security is despite seeming so far removed.

Not only does it remind us of the significance and immense value of NATO on this the 75th anniversary year of D-Day, but to think that Latvians and Estonians, among others, are training right here in Alpena with U.S. soldiers is pretty amazing. I spent some time in the Baltics in 1991, behind the iron curtain, when the Soviet Union was collapsing before our very eyes. I arrived in the Baltics as they were declaring their independence from the Soviet Union and just as Mikhail Gorbachev was being seized by the Soviet military in a coup, leaving Boris Yeltsin to seize power and declare the Soviet Union dead. No one could have imagined the Cold War with the USSR would have come to end then, or in our lifetime, let alone the Baltics restored to their western political alliances, having been seized against their will by the Russians in WWII’s aftermath. And here we are in an era where Baltic soldiers are working side by side with U.S. soldiers at Alpena’s CRTC to help shore up the alliances that ensure our security and that of freedom-loving peoples throughout the world. It is a testament to time and perseverance. It is an amazing thing to reflect on, and, for us to witness in Alpena, an operation that one could not have imagined 28 years ago — what seems like an eternity ago, given the global dynamics of today.

Lest we forget…

TIM KUEHNLEIN,

Alpena