Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s and President Barack Obama’s visit to Pearl Harbor reminds us of the horrors of war and the power of reconciliation. Their honoring those who perished at Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima and Nagasaki speaks not only to us, but to our children, grandchildren and all future generations.
Let us also reflect on the tragedy of the Vietnam War. Over 58,000 Americans died. Millions of Vietnamese perished.
My family yearned and prayed for peace during the war, and for the raining of bombs from B-52s to cease.
The My Lai Massacre and other atrocities are etched on our collective remembrances.
The U.S. military’s use of the defoliant Agent Orange not only scarred Vietnam’s landscape but also resulted in severe birth defects, human deformities and cancers, monstrosities that will linger for generations in Vietnam.
The use of nuclear bombs was reportedly considered by the U.S. government. Historical records indicate that Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger discussed dropping nuclear bombs on Vietnam, but Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird and Secretary of State William Rogers opposed the idea.
As Prime Minister Abe said, “We must never repeat the horrors of war again.”
Let us turn swords into plowshares.
Let us renew our belief in the sanctity of human life.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.