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Infamy and Hope

December 7, 2010

December 7th, 1941 has truly lived on in infamy, and there is no doubt that this disastrous day will long be remembered here in the United States and around the world.  Look no further than the nearest veteran’s association, and the hundreds of memorial services that will take place this week in remembrance of that tragic day.

On that Sunday morning, evil struck a blow against the United States and against the forces of freedom and liberty.  On that day, thousands died and the world was changed forever.  While many made the ultimate sacrifice that winter morning, and millions perished in the World’s most desperate struggle, they certainly did not die in vain.  That December, unwillingly, and in terrible fashion, the United States of America joined the fight against the forces of evil.  With the help of allies around the world, World War II was eventually brought to a close and the Axis Powers defeated.

It is important to remember just what was accomplished though.  The people of Japan were not defeated in that fight; instead they were liberated.  As much as any conquered nation the citizens of Japan were subjugated to the rule of a few powerful individuals in the halls of power, and their nation led down a path of deceit, destruction, and despair.  When Imperial Japan surrendered, the Japanese people were liberated as surely as Paris when the French returned; or the Philippines upon MacArthur’s famous return.

From the smoke of Pearl Harbor, and the ashes of a thousand other battlefields around the world, hope arose.  Millions suffered, and countless young men and woman gave their lives on both sides of the battle line, but when the dust settled and the fog of war lifted, it was to a new world.  Evil and wrong doing did not disappear, but a great blow was struck for  justice and freedom.

At the very heart of the struggle, and in the surest sign of the new world, America and Japan have emerged as the strongest of partners.  The most terrible attacks either nation have ever endured occurred during the the Second World War, and each side bore the responsibility for thousands of dead on each side, and yet, in just a few short decades, America and Japan now count each other as friends and allies.

On December 7th, 1941 evil visited American soil.  By the fall of 1945, after unleashing the full strength of its arsenal, and visiting unfathomable destruction upon its enemies, evil was vanquished from Japan.  In its place, though scarred and battered, hope and friendship emerged.