This December 7th marks the 75th Anniversary of Japan’s early Sunday morning, surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
FDR’s quote the day following Pearl Harbor’s attack, “A date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan,” was a gross understatement.
If you’ve never been to the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, you must go. Take it from me - you won’t be able to keep a dry eye the whole time you’re there.
Seeing the oil still bubbling up from the Arizona 75 years later as she rests at the bottom of the harbor is a chilling site. Knowing that the souls of 1,177 brave men and women, navy and marines, who gave their lives so that the rest of us might be free is a sobering fact. In that body count, there were over 700 men and woman who were 22 years old or under – all college age . . . Think of how the college students of today would react if suddenly thrust into such a situation. Would they rise to the occasion or recoil with their coloring books, blankies and Crayolas into fetal positions as evidenced by their actions and reactions to the current presidential election.
The U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that abruptly ended WWII was an incredibly costly victory that came four years later. During that time, FDR died and Harry S. Truman took his place as President of the United States. Meanwhile, the Japanese continued to bomb, torpedo, capture, imprison and brutally torture our servicemen, often mutilating their bodies, some while still alive – had to stop.
I don’t know how you feel about this but I can tell you one thing – I am anything BUT ashamed that we bombed Japan the way we did. There was no choice. WWII HAD to be ended – ASAP, before more lives were sacrificed.
A few years ago, I had a guy friend who is what I’d call a contrarian and we rarely saw eye to eye. You can imagine for as forthright and outspoken as I am – he was the total, 180-degree opposite. And for some strange reason, the guy persisted in wanting to be friends . . . anyway . . .
Last year, on December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day, this guy posted something on my FB page about he “being very ashamed at what the Americans did to the ‘poor’ Japanese by dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The carnage, all the lives lost . . . “
As you can imagine, I promptly cut the guy a new one. I was totally enraged at the audacity of ANYONE, let alone a highly educated man who likes to pretentiously pepper his speech with French phrases for affect, taking this kind of anti-American stance about the steps we took to end the war.
And in light of his Jewish heritage, considering what Hitler and the Nazis did to his people – I was especially taken aback.
It was either the Japanese or us – and the U.S. powers that be had had enough and were not about to let anymore human slaughter happen.
If you doubt that any or all of the stories describing Japan’s atrocities that you read about are true, please read Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s seminal new book Killing the Rising Sun. It’s a chillingly concise account of the history of “How America Vanquished World War II Japan.”
President Truman had a very difficult decision to make and one he had to stick by, no matter what. In a letter from President George W. Bush to Bill O’Reilly, he says, “In the presidency, there are no do-overs. You have to do what is right and accept the consequences. Harry Truman did just that. I admire his toughness, principle, and strategic vision. He led with our country’s best interests at heart, and he didn’t care much what the critics said.” (Hmm, and Trump is pretty much the same way, yet “W” wouldn’t get behind Trump . . .)
Further, “As an American and the son of a WWII veteran, I support his decision and am grateful.”
I, too, support Truman’s decision, iron-will and his “strategic vision.” Our country would be vastly different today had Truman not acted the way he did to bring WWII to an end.
I wonder if this new generation of young people and all the generations to come realize the sacrifice these brave men and women made for our freedom? I doubt it if no one, especially if none of the teachers and professors in our learning institutions teach these subjects. I think if they did, awareness would help instill a better, deepened sense of patriotism in our young that seems to be sorely lacking today.
I would say to these kids: Try not to take these freedoms availed to you for granted. Try not to abuse them. Respect them and ALL those veterans, past, present and future, who will give or have given their lives so that you and all the rest of us might remain free.
Above all, value your freedom and work toward unity now and for future generations.
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