Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Not many of those who fought in that bloody epic conflict are still around. We should salute those who are.
Do you think a world war on that scale could happen again? Would we be capable of the same sacrifices, both on the battlefields and on the homefront?
A tribute to the anniversary after the jump.An editorial from the Tulsa World:
World War II, and in particular the war in the Pacific, officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, on the deck of the USS Missouri. It was the long-awaited conclusion of a bloody conflict — V-J Day.
World War II had been history’s deadliest war, and the fight in the Pacific was especially difficult. World War II claimed 419,400 Americans lives. Another 670,000 were wounded. In the Pacific, 111,606 Americans died and 253,142 were wounded. For Japan: 1.7 million diedBoth totals would have been much higher if the U.S. had invaded Japan. But two atom bombs finally brought Japan to its knees and ended the killing.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commander of Southwest Pacific forces, presided over the surrender ceremonies. Although the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941, was still raw and the horrific fight in the Pacific still fresh, MacArthur showed an enormous amount of grace during the 23-minute ceremony.
Concluding his short speech, MacArthur said: “It is my earnest hope, and indeed the hope of all mankind, that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past — a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance and justice.”
The allied victory in World War II was a great one, not just because of the effort involved, but also because of the ideals that were championed — specifically the freedom, tolerance and justice MacArthur spoke of. Great too were the accomplishments of the peace — a rebuilt Germany and Japan that answered for their horrors, but eventually rejoined the world order as peaceful, democratic neighbors, worthy of the world’s trust.
Seventy years later, we celebrate the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for freedom and for the ability of the world — its greatest values challenged in bloody conflict — to rebuild itself better, stronger and more resolute.