Today is Pearl Harbor Day. December 7. A day that people in the US remember the Japanese attack in 1941 that led to the US entering World War 2.
On the radio this past week, I learned that in Germany there are memorials all over the country to the people who were killed in World War 2, particularly the people who were killed as part of the final solution. This remembering is part of the process of repenting, atoning, and transforming the culture so that such evil is never allowed to happen again in that country. And, indeed, Germany has made major strides in becoming a diverse, stable, and tolerant country. Even the number of Jews in the population is growing.
In the wake of World War 2, Japan also made significant efforts to come to terms with its heritage of war and conquest. There are peace memorials throughout Japan. The people have tried to demilitarize their culture.
These processes of transformation in Germany and Japan would have been unimaginable in the 1930’s. And yet these two countries have made vast changes in behaviors and attitudes. The changes and transformation have not only been internal. Today the US counts Japan and Germany among its strongest allies. Who would have expected that?
There are places in the world where age old conflicts continue. I think of the Balkans. And of the middle east. The examples of Germany and Japan and their relations with the rest of the world help to give hope that conflicts in other places can be resolved.
For reflection: Where do you see conflicts that look hopeless? Perhaps between countries, or groups of people, or individuals. Where are there signs of hope for peace and reconciliation?
Prayer: Jesus saw the best in people. He saw the possibilities that were there. He never gave up on anyone or on any situation. We pray for the courage and the strength to have that kind of faith and hope in ourselves and in others. May peace prevail on earth. Amen.