Alright folks, this is going to be a long one today, so bear with me; but I felt that today needed a little extra time.
“Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world, and that God will preserve it always.”
These are the words of Arkansas native, five-star General-Douglas Macarthur. A small boy born in Little Rock, Arkansas would become the sixty-five year old leader of American forces in the Pacific Theater. After four years of bloody warfare, Macarthur was finally able to stand on the deck of the USS Missouri and declare that peace had once again come not only to his nation, but also to the world. It was a peace hard-fought, blood-bought, and dearly treasured.
September 2, 2022 marks the 77th anniversary of the surrender of the Japanese empire. Seventy-seven years ago, this event caused huge celebrations in small towns and large cities of America. There was laughing, singing, and crying jubilantly as the nation now looked forward to a time without war. The people of China and the islands of the Pacific rejoiced that their torturers had laid down their arms once and for all. The Allies of New Zealand, England, and Austrailia sang at the thought of finally returning home. Prisoners of War ate their first real meal in years and once again tasted freedom.
After America had dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese government realized that the only way to preserve her government and her people was to surrender to the Allied forces. August 15, 1945 the Japanese government announced to America and her own country, that they were surrendering.
Hirohito addressed the nation by radio:
TO OUR GOOD AND LOYAL SUBJECTS,
After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in our empire today, we have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.
We have ordered our government to communicate to the governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that our empire accepts the provisions of their joint declaration.
To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well-being of our subjects is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by our imperial ancestors and which lies close to our heart.
Indeed, we declared war on America and Britain out of our sincere desire to ensure Japan's self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.
But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone – the gallant fighting of the military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of our servants of the state, and the devoted service of our one hundred million people – the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.
Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.
Such being the case, how are we to save the millions of our subjects, or to atone ourselves before the hallowed spirits of our imperial ancestors? This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the joint declaration of the powers………
America and the Allied nations accepted their surrender establishing the official signing date for Sunday, September 2.
Nine nation militaries met with the representatives of Japan to accept the terms of surrender. As they stood there watching the Japanese representatives board the USS Missouri, the memories of the sleepless nights, bloody days, and lost comrades began to encroach on their minds. After the years of warfare, the hundreds of thousands lost, it was all going to end with the signing of a piece of paper. Was it worth it? Was it worth it to them? To their friends that would never come home? Was it worth it to the child who would never again see his father or the wife who’s husband would never return home? Would it matter to future generations?
The short answer is, that it was. It was worth it. The men that sacrificed their time, their families, their lives to end World War Two did not do it to be heroes. They did it to protect the freedom and loved ones they treasured the most. And if, dear reader, you are able to read this blog in a free America, then yes, they achieved their goal.
Therefore, as we take time to observe the anniversary of this special day, let us remember that victory came at a high cost, and it is only kept by eternal vigilance. Let us make sure that what they fought and died for remains forever. Let us also recognize the miracle of not just freedom, but also forgiveness. Many years ago, there was a huge rift between the free countries of the world and the Empire of Japan. Four years of needless war and bloodshed left scars that were beyond repair. However, after the surrender September 2, 1945, America and Japan moved beyond these painful experiences to once again build peace and freedom for the nations.
Happy VJ Day!