Those who served in World War II are called the “Greatest Generation,” and I can certainly attest to that acclaim. My own dad was a World War II veteran, wounded in the European theater of operations — namely the Po Valley in Italy while running supply dispatches. I enjoyed hearing my Dad telling the stories of his service which started in North Africa and moved to Sicily, then onto mainland Italy. It was so surreal when my first tour of duty as an Army Second Lieutenant was Italy. Sadly, strokes made Dad too sick to visit me in Vicenza, and he passed away this month 30 years ago, in May of 1986.
Many of us have, or sadly had, dads or grandads — or moms and grandmas — who served in that war. They made a stand against horrific tyranny and saved the world so many could live free, enjoying liberty. Many of us were inspired by the courage and bravery of those men and women.
The inspiration of Corporal Herman West Sr. continues to today as his grandson, Major Herman Bernard West III, serves in the Army, continuing the legacy of combat service in our family. In our family, “Buck” West is revered, as well he should be, as his generation should be for all times. And in holding those men and women in highest regard and honor, we should never denigrate their sacrifices and commitment to freedom.
Now against that backdrop, President Barack Obama heads to Japan, with a scheduled visit to Hiroshima — the first U.S. president to do so.
As reported by Fox News, “In a moment seven decades in the making, President Barack Obama this month will become the first sitting American president to visit Hiroshima, where the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb, decimated a city and shot the world into the Atomic Age.
Obama will visit the site with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a previously scheduled trip to Japan, the White House announced Tuesday.
The president intends to “highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. Obama will not apologize, the White House made clear.
The president’s visit has been widely anticipated since U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to the memorial to the Hiroshima bombing in April. Kerry toured the peace museum with other foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and participated in an annual memorial service just steps from the site’s ground zero.
Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui praised Obama’s plan to visit as a “bold decision based on conscience and rationality,” adding that he hopes Obama will have a chance to hear the survivors’ stories. He also expressed hope the visit would be “a historic first step toward an international effort toward abolishing nuclear weapons, which is a wish of all mankind.”
I will make this a very declarative statement: Any words Obama wishes to deliver against nuclear weapons can be done from right here in Washington DC.
Perhaps the mayor of Hiroshima should attend a Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance and hear those survivors’ stories. Perhaps, the mayor should stand there over the USS Arizona and know that beneath those waters lie our American Sailors who died at the hands of an early Sunday morning attack by Japan. I would hope Barack Obama realizes we have nothing to apologize for to those who brought war to our shores. And we certainly don’t need Hiroshima as some political optic in order to decry America’s use of the atomic bomb.
President Obama, your dad was from Kenya, and your stepdad was from Indonesia. Perhaps if you’d been blessed to be the son of a World War II veteran, one from the Pacific theater, you’d have a different perspective. Furthermore, you and Secretary of State John Kerry have no moral high ground to talk about peace and reduction of nuclear weapons when the both of you just enabled the militant Islamic regime of Iran to be on a path of nuclear ascension — as well as not containing North Korea from the same.
President Obama, before you head off to Japan, may I recommend you watch the HBO series, “The Pacific,” and see what American men endured. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll comprehend that after island after island, the possibility of a mainland Japan attack would have resulted in hundreds of thousands more American dads killed or severely wounded.
You see, President Obama, President Harry Truman was an Army artillery officer who’d served in World War I. He knew what it’s like to see men die in combat at the hands of tyranny, the enemy. Therefore, Truman made a tough decision in order to break the back of the enemy, and the population that supported them. That’s called total war, Barack. And in total war it’s about defeating your enemy and forcing them to surrender, to capitulate — a concept our nation has failed to embrace of late.
No, I don’t agree with President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima. He may not utter the words of an apology, but in doing so his actions reflect contrition. This nation has nothing to be ashamed of for World War II. Seventy-one years ago, Imperial Japan had the choice to surrender, but continued to fight, resist and therefore reap the consequences of its actions. Barack Obama has already bowed before the Japanese emperor; he need not follow that act of subservience with one that disrespects our Greatest Generation.