Every year on August 6 and 9, I feel some sadness as I reflect on the loss of so many lives. I also reflect on why people fought in World War II. This year marks the 68th anniversary of the United States dropping atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yesterday, as I reflected back on WWII and the reasons for the war, I was not only saddened by the horrific number of lives lost in both the Pacific and European theaters, but I was most forlorn that many around the world seem to have forgotten why we went to war.
It is difficult not to remember the millions of Jews and all the Pink Triangle folk who were tortured and killed during the Nazi regime. How sad that President Putin seems to be playing out history all over again by persecuting and imprisoning gay folk, as though WWII never happened. Perhaps, President Putin never had access to a history book and thus never knew about the myriad human rights violations during WWII.
We entered the Pacific Theater only when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, never mind that they were killing thousands of Chinese before this. People probably won’t want me to bring up the fact that here in the United States we kept thousands of Japanese Americans detained in interment camps, as well as Americans who “looked” Japanese. Sadly, we also set up interment camps for Italian Americans and German Americans. My but we do love to “other” people and violate human rights.
It does not seem that long ago when I was watching 60 minutes at my step-mother’s house and they were showing the horrible effects of the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 30 years after the bombings. People were dying from leukemia caused by radiation poisoning from the atomic bombs. For those who have not read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, I strongly encourage you to do so.
In the European Theater, we were trying to stop the unimaginable Holocaust and the 11 million deaths resulting from the Nazis. As a side note, one should mention that Rudolf Brazda died just two years ago. Brazda is believed to be the last surviving man to wear the pink triangle — the emblem homosexuals had to wear and that were sent to Nazi concentration camps, most of them sent to their deaths. If you have not watched the documentary Paragraph 175, I would strongly recommend you watch it. President Putin certainly needs to watch this film!
We entered the war to fight back the cloak of Nazism and Fascism. We considered ourselves to be better than the oppressors we were fighting. The irony is palpable when you think about our government today and how we continue to marginalize and target certain populations. We still have so far to go around issues of racial equity, LGBT equity, and gender equity.
Today, as I remember all the lives lost specifically in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the current path of the governments in Russia and the United States, I shall endeavor to make a thousand paper cranes in the hope that our elected officials know history and know how to lead with compassion, integrity, and with the interest of the people guiding them, not just white heterosexual christians, but ALL of the people united in our differences and similarities.