My friend Thomas Drago Dzieran was born in Communist Poland. He, his mother, and his siblings survived a hungry, cold, and fearful existence, living under that oppressive, authoritarian regime.
As he grew older, he rebelled against this draconian way of life and was eventually imprisoned for speaking out against socialist oppression and questioning how he and his fellow Poles people were terrorized and abused.
But, he was one of the lucky ones—he “only” went to prison. He wasn’t murdered and buried in an unmarked grave as countless others were.
He was also lucky because he eventually escaped—working with the American embassy, he immigrated to America, went on to serve in the Navy, and became a fellow SEAL.
INDEPENDENCE DAY: FOURTH OF JULY FACTS YOU MAY NOT KNOW
I had the honor of serving alongside Drago and watching him fight for our American ideals.
Early in the war, he, more than any of us, knew and understood that our freedom is a gift. He knew this because he had lived without freedom for the first half of his life.