12/12/21 - posted by Paul Judge

About 20 years ago my son and I visited the USS Arizona Memorial and museum in Pearl Harbor. Following that sobering visit we went aboard the USS Missouri docked just forward of the Arizona along Battleship Row on Ford Island. Both vessels ‘bookend’ the beginning and end of the war in the Pacific during WW II.
While we stood looking at the deck plaque that commemorates the Japanese surrender on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, we engaged in conversation with another visitor. He pointed to one of the photographs on display of the surrender and said that his father took the photograph. The photo was one of many taken that day that portray the array of military officers of the victorious Allied nations and crew members of the Missouri dressed in their pressed whites crowding every horizontal foot and handhold to witness the surrender of the Imperial Japanese military and civil government. The significance of that event felt palpable.
Then our attention was drawn to the sound of a brass band striking up a piece of music that wafted across Pearl Harbor. We turned around to see 3 modern warships entering port with their crew in pressed whites lining the railings of each ship. Formal naval salutes were exchanged by visitor and by host. The striking significance of the moment were the vessels being welcomed. They were from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force. 60 years separated the difference.

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