Two recent deaths remind us how fragile freedom is.  These deaths also remind us that the Cold War was not that long ago.

Vaclav Havel of Czechoslovakia died.  He was a symbol of freedom during the Cold War.  From The Washington Times:

Vaclav Havel wove theater into revolution, leading the charge to peacefully bring down communism in a regime he ridiculed as “Absurdistan” and proving the power of the people to overcome totalitarian rule.

Shy and bookish, with a wispy mustache and unkempt hair, the dissident playwright was an unlikely hero of Czechoslovakia’s 1989 “Velvet Revolution” after four decades of suffocating repression — and of the epic struggle that ended the wider Cold War.

On the other end of the freedom spectrum, Kim Jong Il, North Korea's leader, died.  He supposedly died of heart failure.  It was difficult to keep a straight face reading this quote from an AP article:

"It is the biggest loss for the party … and it is our people and nation's biggest sadness," an anchorwoman clad in black Korean traditional dress said in a voice choked with tears. She said the nation must "change our sadness to strength and overcome our difficulties."

Although Kim Jong Il is dead, it looks like his legacy will continue.  He had put a succession plan in place.

The news came as North Korea prepared for a hereditary succession. Kim Jong Il inherited power after his father, revered North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, died in 1994.

In September 2010, Kim Jong Il unveiled his third son, the twenty-something Kim Jong Un, as his successor, putting him in high-ranking posts.

Things don't seem to be changing in North Korea.  North Korea is already shooting missiles.  This is likely a way to signal its supposed "strength."

These two men took their nations in different directions.  One fighting for freedom and one fighting against it.  Let’s not forget how fragile freedom is and give thanks this holiday season for freedom.