The 70th Anniversary of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor
8:00 AM, Dec 7, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
“We are gathered here, representatives of the major warring powers, to conclude a solemn agreement whereby peace may be restored. The issues, involving divergent ideals and ideologies, have been determined on the battlefields of the world and hence are not for our discussion and debate. Nor is it for us here to meet, representing as we do a majority of the peoples of the earth, in a spirit of distrust, malice, or hatred.
“But rather it is for us, both victors and vanquished, to rise to that higher dignity which alone befits the sacred purposes we are about to serve, committing all our peoples unreservedly to faithful compliance with the undertakings they are here formally to assume.
“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 founded upon faith and understanding — a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish — for freedom, tolerance, and justice.”
Listening to MacArthur, Toshikazu Kase, the Japanese diplomat who had been appointed to record that day’s events for the Imperial Palace, thought, “What stirring eloquence and what a noble vision! Here is a victor announcing the verdict to the prostrate enemy. He can exact his pound of flesh if he so desires. And yet he pleads for freedom, tolerance, and justice. For me, who expected the worst humiliation, this was a complete surprise. I was thrilled beyond words, spellbound, thunderstruck. For the living heroes and dead martyrs of the war this speech was a wreath of undying flowers.”
Shortly thereafter, MacArthur addressed the American people from across the wide Pacific:
“My fellow countrymen, today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended. A great victory has been won. The skies no longer rain death — the seas bear only commerce — men everywhere walk upright in the sunlight. The entire world is quietly at peace. The holy mission has been completed, and in reporting this to you, the people, I speak for the thousands of silent lips, forever stilled among the jungles and the beaches and in the deep waters of the Pacific which marked the way.”
Let us remember them today.
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