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V. J. Day Memorial

Posted Sunday, August 15, 2010, at 12:45 PM

Today is V.J. Day. That is, the anniversary of the day we were victorious over the Empire of Japan in World War II. General MacArthur forced the humiliation of the Emperor by making him come onto the USS Arizona, in Osaka Harbor, and personally sign the surrender papers. It would only take an additional eight years of occupation by U.S. military forces before bombings, sniping, and the murder of American Troops on Japanese soil would end.

According to most analyses, dropping the atomic bomb on Nagasaki saved the lives of about one million U.S. Marines. That was 65 years ago. Now a group of wealthy retired marines have quietly purchased ground near the center of the city of Nagasaki. The City has just given them permission to erect a memorial to the U.S. Marine Corps.

After a heated debate, the city planners ruled that the memorial was in compliance with the local regulations. Since the memorial is being built on privately owned ground, so long as the owners built in compliance with the building regulations, it was fine.

The investors who purchased the ground have repeatedly explained that they share the Japanese regret for the loss of civilian lives caused by the bomb. In such a great struggle, it is inevitable that innocent people will tragically lose their lives. Moreover, this memorial isn't about the tragic circumstances of the atomic bomb, dropped by the Army Air Corp, but rather is an outreach by the U.S. Marines who honorably engaged the Bushido guided Japanese warriors in a great and honorable struggle that resulted in a lasting peace and understanding.

The people of Japan are quite upset about this memorial. A recent survey shows that approximately 67 percent (+/-3 percent) of Japanese citizens disapprove of the memorial. That they consider the center of Nagasaki ground that has been consecrated by the lives of 80,000 dead. That if the investors wanted to erect a memorial, that they should do it on private ground elsewhere.

Sound familiar?

When discussing the proposed mosque at the site of the destruction of the World Trade Center, my beloved wife said, "There are a lot of things that we have the right to do. But common sense and civility tell us not to do it."

An interesting point. Legally, there is absolutely noting wrong with building that mosque. It would be a great showing of tolerance by the people of New York and the rest of the U.S. After all, didn't Jesus tell us that when we are slapped in the face, we are to turn to our assailant the other cheek?

But what does that say about the people who would build their mosque there? Those who would build that mosque want to call it "The Cordoba Center." Naming the mosque for the sight of their great conquest in the capture of Spain and the seat of Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula. The Caliphate of Cordoba ruled the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa for 100 years. New York City is the economic capital of the United States, and arguably, the world.

What does this say about those who would build their mosque there? Legally, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.


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Charles,

Very compelling blog. Since we've been commenting on rights and this country's historical foundation this blog certainly hits the mark as to religious freedom.

Personally, I agree with your wife. But even if it appears the developers of the Park 51 Complex are being downright "unneighborly" and intentionally disconcerned with the events that transpired at this location, the enormous loss of lives, and the victims who remain there to suffer the memory of that tragedy, constitutionally they have the right to practice their faith. I haven't decided if this is an issue of freedom of religion or cultural understanding.

It isn't just a mosque that will be developed two blocks north of ground zero, it is a cultural complex which will include a mosque, a performing arts center, a restaraunt and a pool. The project will cost $100 million. I ponder the price for the prime real estate alone. Mr. Rick Lazio (R)seeking nomination for governor, has called for a formal investigation of the financing.

Current governor David Paterson made an effort to persuade the developers to build farther away from ground zero and offered state owned property away from the site of the former World Trade Center as a means of resolving this fierce national debate over freedom of religion and the memory of September 11 victims. The imam behind the project, Fiesal Abdul Rauf, would not reconsider regaurdless of the objections by the majority of New Yorkers.

Mayor Micheal Bloomberg gave a statement saying he's always believed the government should not be involved in deciding who you pray to, what you say or where you say it. (Where was he in 2005 when the Supreme Court ruled that one has the right to be free from a coercive requirement to affirm God and ruled to remove God from public worship) The Mayor defended the vote by the Landmarks Preservation Commission NOT to grant landmark designation to the building being torn down to make way for the complex.

Maybe, when they start construction and excavate for that fancy pool they'll discover another historical vessel buried for 200 years, cut up for landfill and a building site of gray muck, as they did two blocks south at the site for the future World Trade Center. A 1797 map studied by Micheal Pappalardo, archeologist with AKPF, shows the area is close to where Lindsey's Wharf and Lake Wharf once projected into the Hudson. Maybe, as in Guatamala earlier this summer, a giant sink hole will open up and Park 51 will become $100 million landfill.

Webster defines civility as "Courtesy". Cultural ignorance, in my opinion, is no excuse for blatant disregaurd. If there is an issue of freedom of religion, I haven't heard it. A question of their rights? What if the music coming from the Performing Arts Center is loud enough to be heard out on the public street - will that offend a passerby? Will that fall under the Supreme Court ruling to the right to be free from a coersive enviroment to affirm Alla.

OK, I'm climbing down from my soapbox.

Localguy1972 - The New York Times has published an article about the 18th century ship that was uncovered at the site for the future World Trade Center. They encouraged readers who may have maritime history knowledge to view the slide show attached to the article & offer their interpretations. They are hoping to find out the name of the ship. Slightly pre WWII but thought maybe with your knowledge of history????

Thanks so much for your interesting blog Charles.

Silverlining

-- Posted by Silverlining on Tue, Aug 17, 2010, at 3:22 AM

Charles,

I would agree. The Iowa class are quite impressive. It's a shame that none are in active service today. Most have become museum ships, the namesake of the class is soon to join her sister ships.

A bit of history many people might not know, the U.S.S. Iowa was the only ship in the navy to have a bathtub. It was installed while the ship carried president Roosevelt to many meetings in the atlantic.

The Iowa class was also the last class of battleships to be constructed. I think it is a testament to their construction and usefulness that they survived to the mid 1990's before being decommissioned.

I have always been and avid history buff, with WWII being one of the most interesting parts of our history (to me anyway).

I always look forward to your posts. Have a good week.

-- Posted by Localguy1972 on Mon, Aug 16, 2010, at 11:00 PM

Dear Localguy1972

I sincerely thank you for the correction. That part of history is important enough that I should have gotten it correct. I wrote that part from memory and named the wrong ship. I knew it was an Iowa Class Battleship (which the Arizona is not). The Iowa Class Battleships were the most magnificent in the fleet at the time and a worthy rival to the Yamamoto.

Again, Thank you for the correction.

-- Posted by Charles Hear on Mon, Aug 16, 2010, at 10:16 PM

Charles,

Just want to interject something for the article. The U.S.S. Arizona was sunk on Dec. 7,1941. Gen. MacArthur accepted the surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri (BB-63)from the Japanese delegation. It is now decommissioned and stands watch over the U.S.S. Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor. It is a magnificent ship that I had the privilege to tour before it left Japan for it's decommissioning. I would encourage anyone who happens to go to Hawaii to take the tour of the ship while there.

As for the Mosque at Ground Zero, all may have the right to worship to the god of their choice I personally would prefer they built it at a different location. But (again my opinion only) they have the right to build wherever they wish, the proposed builders should at least consider the sensitivity of the issue and not build there. I can say that if we were to try and build a church of any denomination of the christian faith in a middle eastern country we would be imprisoned according to Islamic Law. I would hope that common sense would prevail and they would reconsider. This sounds more like an attempt to inflame public opinion rather than building on religious freedoms.

-- Posted by Localguy1972 on Mon, Aug 16, 2010, at 8:35 PM


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