Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Fall of the Rising Sun

Ask most people and they will cite September 2nd as VJ Day, which stands for “Victory Over Japan” in the parlance of the Second World War. Earlier in the year the United States had celebrated the end of hostilities in Europe with VE Day. Technically VJ Day is a separate occasion entirely from Japan’s formal surrender in Tokyo Bay in September aboard the USS Missouri, or the Mighty Mo’ as her crew affectionately called her.

As chronicled in “My Hitch in Hell” by Lester I. Tenney the war actually ended about a day after the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, some 35 miles from the coal mine where he was enslaved as a prisoner of war. Within days these men were roaming freely about in Japan, accepting the informal surrender of all the Japanese they encountered. The two governments had agreed to a cessation of all hostilities while the arrangements were being made for a formal “instrument”, or document of surrender, to be drawn up.That was the document signed aboard the Missouri on September 2, 1945 and shown below.

The Rising Sun flag was the equivalent of the Confederate Battle Flag in that it was not, nor ever was, the official flag of the nation it served. The Japanese flag is the same now as it was before, during and after the war. Only the Rising Sun flag, which denoted imperialism, was outlawed after the Japanese surrender. The only difference is that the South did not get to continue flying its nation’s “Stars and Bars” after the war simply because that nation had ceased to exist.

Japan went on to prosper under the direction of an American occupation, which lasted about 15 years. And, she has been a staunch ally ever since. Here in America, on the other hand, divisions still exist over the outcome of our own Civil War, now almost 150 years past.

The Rising Sun flag fell after the war with Japan was over; while here in the United States, the Confederate Battle Flag can still be seen on everything from cigarette lighters and tee-shirts, to bumper stickers and even tattoos, proving that; although the war here may have ended, unlike the war with Japan; our own battle still rages within.

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