What Our Veterans Did

My dad passed away earlier this year, and he was one of the hundreds if not thousands of World War II veterans who now seem to be passing away daily. He served in the Army, in Japan only, but one part of his military experience speaks volumes about the nobility of America’s motives for war, and of our place in the world as standard-setters for military actions.

Dad stayed in Japan over a year after the war and his military commitment ended, as a civilian employee of the Army. It was not that his work was all that stimulating (he had accounting and administrative tasks), but it was his interest in exploring a part of the world very different from his native Minnesota that inspired him to stay on in Japan. On his weekends and breaks from work, he traveled throughout Japan, toured every historic and cultural site he could uncover, bought (inexpensive) art, and tried to meet and talk with as many Japanese natives as he could. This was a rich experience for a child from a large, single-parent, low-income family.

Throughout the rest of dad’s life in America, whenever he met people who came to our country from Japan, my dad felt a special affinity with them. He went out of his way to talk with them, find out where in Japan they were from, and share any common points of interest. One family in particular that had emigrated to the U.S. from Japan had children at the same school in Maryland that our kids attended, and my father loved talking to the dad and grandfather in that family.

The significance of this is not that my dad happened to enjoy travel and enriching his appreciation for other cultures. It is that he stayed in Japan to help the rebuilding because he, in consonance with the goals of the American government and forces, wanted the country to be reestablished as an independent player in the world. He respected the people, and their individuality and culture, and had no interest in subjecting them to long-term American control, or in subjugating them to America’s values, religion or system of government.

America’s military history involves freeing the repressed, and defeating those who do try to subjugate the world, whether those subjugators were Hitler and the Axis powers, the Soviet Communist aggressors or the Islamic jihadists of today. Those would-be subjugators were stopped and must always be stopped by the kind of military action that stands for the basic human right of living under liberty so far as possible.

Some in positions of power and influence in America decry the supposed history of American imperialism, a not only false but truly evil narrative. There are those Americans whose cultural and moral equivalency meters dictate the conclusion that isolated episodes of misconduct by American troops throughout our nation’s history are in the same galaxy with the goals and actions of the Axis powers, Communist aggressors, or Islamic jihadists seeking world domination.

The utter dishonesty of that narrative is exposed by the actual history of America’s military actions around the world, and exemplified in small part by my dad’s story. Americans fight evil in the world, and then respect the liberty and national restoration of the former aggressors. That nobility of purpose in America’s military history must be honored, along with our honoring the service of our veterans of every battle and war.

God bless America’s place in the world as the standard bearer of good and the defender of liberty. God bless our military veterans.

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