Recently, I have been reading “Twilight of the Gods,” by Ian W. Toll. It is a vivid account of the brutal war fought in the Pacific. He tells the history of the massive sea, air and land battles, which raged over vast ocean expanses.

Toll reports dramatic stories of remarkable courage shown by determined Americans in a deadly struggle against the Empire of Japan. Heroism was commonplace. Victory hard won.

Patriotism during World War II was the rule on the battlefields, seas and the home front. The United States was fully committed to the unconditional surrender of Japan, which stood alone but was still incredibly dangerous even after the defeat of its Axis partners, Germany and Italy.

The Japanese began the war with a sudden and deliberate sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in an address to Congress, memorably called it “a date that will live in infamy.”

Within the book’s 926 pages, Toll describes myriad incidents of personal heroism and sacrifice by American servicemen and women. After digesting his moving words, I wondered, how was it possible that on Jan. 6, 2021, 76 years later, the descendants of some of those great patriots could engage in a violent insurrection against the government of the United States?

How could thousands of children and grandchildren of those World War II heroes be so motivated by hatred that they could attack the capital of the American government? How could they possibly believe 77 days of blatant election fraud lies by President Trump, who incited the Jan. 6 insurrection? How could the attackers refuse to accept the constitutional certification of the votes by the Electoral College? How could they seek to hang Vice President Mike Pence and kill Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi?

How could former military and law enforcement personnel become part of such a deadly mob? It murdered Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick and savagely beat other brave cops who were defending the Capitol. One defender lost an eye. Two committed suicide. Many insurrectionists brought knives, bats, clubs and even a sledgehammer, and beat the capital defenders brutally with flag poles. Five people died during the melee.

A number of the insurrectionists were members of QAnon, the right-wing conspiracy theory cult that believes former President Donald Trump was under assault by Satan worshipers. They embrace a wide range of often bizarre and unsubstantiated beliefs.

One of the first rioters to charge up the stairs leading to the Senate chamber was wearing a QAnon T-shirt. They, like the red MAGA hat wearers, have been easily identified. Approximately 400 have been arrested, and 140 charged with crimes. The FBI is working to confirm the names, addresses and possible illegal actions of others. The FBI describes QAnon as a “potential domestic terrorist threat.” By its gross criminal behavior, it is an “actual threat to peace and tranquillity.”

Was what happened on Jan. 6 an aberration, or was it something far more dangerous to our democracy? I would say it is the latter.

With some conservative television networks still casting doubts about the legitimacy of the election, and millions of Trump voters still believing the election was rigged, America still may have much to fear in the uncertain days ahead.

President Abraham Lincoln believed, in the weeks before taking office in 1861, that rebellion could be avoided. He was wrong and millions died in America’s Civil War. That Confederate flags were flaunted in the rotunda to make political statements on Jan. 6 surely demonstrates that our democracy is still far more fragile than one might wish. Until Republican representatives and senators are willing to tell their constituents the truth about the honesty of the last presidential election, fear, disunity and danger will continue to haunt us.

Jan. 6, 2021 will be remembered as a second date in American history that “will live in infamy.” To mitigate some of the stain caused by the assault on our democracy, senators should vote to convict twice-impeached, now former President Donald Trump for incitement to riot and sedition. They should also vote to ban him from ever holding public office again. If the Senate fails to convict Trump, it will be acknowledging that seditious incitement to riot is acceptable behavior. In the United States of America there must never again be a reason or season for treason.

Paul R. Dunn of Pinehurst is reached at and

(9) comments

Comment deleted.
Jim Tomashoff

Kent writes: "...the prospects for the survival of The Pilot are not good..." I'd say given Kent's attitude against wearing masks, especially in light of the more infectious strains that the virus has mutated to, the prospects for Kent's survival is much poorer than that of The Pilot.

ken leary

I’m curious as to why you left out 9/11. This article asks a number of questions and answers none. The author lives in a country that subjects myriad other countries citizen’s to death either directly through invasion, bombing, installing dictators and arming them, or through sanctions. We are, as Dr. King paid with his life for stating, “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” We glorify, as a nation, every act of aggression toward others with flag waving, cheers, and a self-righteous indignation that other nation's people would question our resolve. Just as the wealthy have run out of places (legitimate places) to invest their money, our country is fast running out of places to invest our violence. The world is wising up. We are becoming a country in which fewer people are able to thrive due to the greed of a small number of our citizens and a leadership which is captured. All the festering violence and anger due to our nation’s failure to thrive may now be directed endogenously. Why does it surprise anybody?

Mark Hayes

It must be due to our overwhelming number of faults that this country remains the most sought after destination for immigrants.

ken leary

Then you should ask why people would leave their home in order to seek safety elsewhere Mark. Your follow up question should be what did our (USA) foreign policy have to do with immigrant migration, if anything? Start with Central and South America. Then ask why is Europe being besieged by migrants from the Middle East? Then expand your quip to include at the least a modicum of explanation for why you think this is a destination for immigrants. It probably has something to do with the fact that we won't drop bombs on ourselves - yet. Although I believe the miners in West Virginia were bombed by Billy Mitchell, so it would not be a first.

Mark Hayes

Ken, I have no follow up question. I don't really care about the immigrants, don't know anything about the miners in West Virginia, and the same holds true for Billy Mitchell, guess that about covers it.

Conrad Meyer

ken, what is your beef with Billy Mitchell? The airport in Milwaukee is named for him.

Peyton Cook

Absolutely “Apples and Oranges”. World War II and the January 6 Capital episode are completely different. In the first, those who were responsible were very evident. In the second, it is not completely clear who organized it, even though in is known that the violent attack on the Capital was planned days in advance of President Trump’s speech. We also know that he called for a “peaceful” march.

Kent Misegades

The usual bloviation from a TDS suffering election-fraud-denier. “Proof That the US November Election Was Stolen Exists in Abundance”. By Paul Craig Roberts

Dan Roman

Ah yes, Paul Craig Roberts, who advocates hydroxychloroquine to cure coronavirus, states that the Biden administration will be Americas first totalitarian government and that Biden leads the assault on white Americans and continues to flog the idea that the election was stolen. Only Kent Misegades the Pinehurst liar laureate would cite this guy as a reputable source. More looney lies and conspiracy theories which Mitch McConnell called a cancer for our country.

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