Opinion: Merrick Garland ties together the threads of democracy

New York Times photo / U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a naturalization ceremony at Ellis Island in New York on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022

Some of us remember being taught to crouch beneath our school desks for protection in the event of a nuclear attack in the early 1960s.

Those small desks, while sturdier then than now, wouldn't have been much protection during those days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Nor could they be now if Russian President Vladimir Putin takes out his anguish over his stumbling war effort in Ukraine with nuclear weapons, something he hinted at in a speech Wednesday as he announced the mobilization of thousands more men to the war-torn country that has embarrassed him with its pursuit of freedom and democracy.

The war in Ukraine adds another layer of concern and complexity to our world -- both good and bad. As concerning as the threat of nuclear war may be, the reminder of humankind's yearning to breathe free and grow is always welcome.