Thursday, May 8, 2008

VE Day

Today marks the 63rd anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, (VE Day) that marked the close of one front of WWII. The allied forces led by Britain and the U.S. accepted the Nazi surrender in Berlin, which set off joyous celebrations across the globe.


Today VE Day is celebrated by France, the U.S., Britain and others as a moment to reflect on the tremendous sacrifice borne by each country to stop the genocide and fascism that threatened the world. Many consider this the landmark event that closed the bloody history of the second Great War. However, it is often overlooked that 4 months remained in the front with Japan, and the bloodiest episode in human warfare had not yet taken place. The reasons for the overshadowing are likely numerous, but the notoriety of Hitler and the end of the Holocaust are paramount. However despite the glorious celebration VE Day deserves, the day only marks liberation on one continent. In January of 1945 as Soviet troops were reaching the Nazi camps like Auschwitz, a world away in California, some Japanese-Americans remained in internment camps. Although, on January 2, 1945, the Presidential exclusion order was rescinded entirely, the Supreme Court did not rule the process unconstitutional until 1944. The lesson is painful, one can reach out in the spirit of good to help another, yet must not forget about the health of self.

For Japanese-Americans the memories are painful thrice fold; the horror of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, the ensuing internment camps, and the pain of Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. Each event giving rise to a different emotion, Japanese-Americans faced these tragedies with fortitude and resilience.