It’s now more than 71 years since the shooting and bombing stopped in the deadliest most destructive war that our planet has ever known, but that conflict continues to define today’s events in many ways.
This past week, Barack Obama shook hands with the Prime Minister of Japan at the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, where 2400 Americans were killed in a Japanese attack that happened 75 years ago, long before either of today’s leaders were born. There was no apology either expected or received, but Obama accentuated the positive. He said the alliance between Japan and the U.S. is the economic backbone of the Asia-Pacific region which seems a lot stronger these days than the European Union.
Last summer, Obama was the first American president to visit Hiroshima where the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb in 1945. Hands up if there’s anyone who can picture Donald Trump making similar appearances anytime soon.
On Christmas Day in Augsberg Germany, there was a dramatic reminder of what took place before the end of World War Two. More than 50,000 residents left the city so that a huge unexploded British bomb could be safely defused.
The Augsberg that existed before the war was mostly destroyed by allied bombs that were dropped in 1944, and this one weighed almost two tons. It was uncovered by a construction crew, and Christmas Day was chosen for the evacuation because it was easier than a normal working day.
There are hundreds, possibly thousands of unexploded bombs still to be dealt with in Europe, some of them from World War One. We don’t even want to think about how many there are in a place like Vietnam which was a war zone for much of the 20th century.
Pray for peace everyone, and have a very Happy New Year.
I’m Roger Currie