After the Post-Gazette article appeared I received a very moving email from Masashi Narita, a medical trainee here in Pittsburgh:
On Dec.7th 2006, I was asked the same interesting question from
different persons " Do you know what is the day today?" I can recall
immediately that the day is unforgettable memorial day for Americans,
especially veterans at VA hospital. I talked this episode to my fellows
and friends of Americans and Japanese. Some of Americans understand
that Pearl Harbor attack is the same memorial event as 9/11. Some of
Japanese did not know the date of Pearl Harbor attack. From this
experience, I understand that the importance to keep remember what has
happened in our country’s history regardless of glorious or shame for
us, as well as to think about the loser’s view point.
I had expected that someone may ask me the same question on August 6th or 9th this year. Nobody did it.
understand your emotional issues at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. I
also visited there after 9/11 attack. I could not make any difference
between the tragedies, the terror and the war.
Masashi put into words what I was feeling: there is no difference between these tragedies.
When I wrote my original post about visiting the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima I certainly had in mind the controversy over whether we should have dropped the bomb. I knew too many veterans of WWII who were certain they would have died in the Pacific, had the war continued. Regardless of how we might feel about the issue there is no going back. The important thing is to learn the lessons of the past and there are many of them here. Over the years I have gone from feeling, as a child, that we Americans were on the side of the angels, to knowing that we are capable of the same horrifying deeds our enemies have visited upon us. There are no angels on earth, at least not in any government.
Stacie, an artist who blogs at Nomadic Creations, wrote a profound piece about a conversation with the Rwandan owner of a nearby gallery.
It was a unique opportunity to really see the world through
someone else’s eyes, and to understand how so much alike we all are,
and not always in such a good way. Like many people, I have filters on
my senses. Something like the Rwandan Genocide couldn’t possibly happen
here, or our country would never get into another civil war. It can
happen though. When an economic divide becomes so great…terrible things
Yozefu said he had been back to Africa two years ago, and that the
thing that most impressed him was the capacity for forgiveness that
many villagers have embraced as the survivors have returned home. It is
unimaginable for me to think about that level of forgiveness.