Fruits of victory must be sweet

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    SAINTHOOD via Auschwitz. Martyrdom at Fort Santiago. Surviving the Bataan Death March. At the cost of superhuman sacrifices, the massive Anti-Fascist struggle finally defeated Mussolini, Hitler and Hirohito’s Axis of Evil: “Our Soviet people did not spare its strength or labor for the sake of victory. We have lived through hard years. But now every one of us can say: We have won. From now on we can consider our country saved from the threat of German invasion in the West and of Japanese inva sion in the East… Glory to our Far Eastern troops and the Pacific Fleet which upheld the honor and dignity of our Motherland!” [Marshal Stalin’s radio address on the Japanese  surrender, 02 September 1945].

    The Japanese imperialists could no longer obstruct the full measure of the Righteous Cause of the United Nations, but still they  insisted on their bankrupt Shintoist chauvinism: “It is our desire that our people will surmount the manifold hardships and trials attending the termination of the  war and make manifest the innate glory of Japan’s national policy.” [Rescript read by Emperor Hirohito before the Japanese Diet,  September 4, 1945].

    That so-called innate glory included a litany of war crimes: Rape of Nanjing, Lipa Massacre, Thai-Burma Death Railway, Rape  of Mapanique, Sandakan Death March, and Rape of Manila, among others. Hirohito and the Oriental Hitlerites refused to apologize for these and other heinous crimes (cannibalism in Mindanao, Onoda and his fellow stragglers murdering 30 Filipinos in Mindoro between  1946 and 1974).

    Even the puppets of the Japa nese war machine in the Philippines who were incarcerated for collaboration with the enemy could not give Hirohito’s minions a free pass: “General Yamashita, the Japanese Commander-in-Chief in the Philippines, surrendered with thousands of his men in Ba guio in the presence of Lt. Gen. Wainwright. He was immediately confined in New Bilibid in Manila and will be tried as a war criminal. Under him, thousands and thou sands of Filipinos, including my own daughter and brother-in-law,  were massacred. He should be made, to atone for it. He should commit harakiri.” [Diary of Antonio De Las Alas, September 3, 1945, Monday]

    Yes, the fascist Japanese had to bow to the reality of Allied victory, even as caution was conjured amid celebration: “No humane person could desire that the Japs be forced to endure what many of our men went through. Yet I know that Americans will insist that the full meaning of Japan’s surrender  be brought home to every subject of the Emperor. These truculent men must be forced to realize the folly of their ambitions. Until the Japanese people display sincerely a desire for peaceful ways, we must not abandon our watch.” [General Jonathan M. Wainwright, “Remember Bataan! Remember  Corregidor! Never Neglect Our Defenses Again,” Delivered at homecoming celebration, Washington Monument, Washington,  D.C., September 10, 1945]

    Of the victors, the Americans had to be reminded by their executives of the real fruits of victory. Their new Commander-in-Chief repeated the statement of the late President Roosevelt regarding the  Second Bill Of Rights “under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all-regardless of station, race, or creed.” Among them: (1) The right to earn enough to  provide adequate food and clothing and recreation; (2) The right of every farmer  to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living; (3) The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from  unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad; (4) The right of every family to a decent home; (5) The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health; (6) The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment; (7) The right to a good education.

    This message to Congress by  President Harry S. Truman on September 6, 1945 rings just as true 75 years later. It echoes in the remarks of Sung Kim, Ambassador of the United States of  America to the Philippines, given at the virtual commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Japanese Surrender at the American Residence in Baguio last September 3, 2020: “Seventy-five years ago today, General Tomoyuki Yamashita signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender in the presence of US Lieutenant-Generals Arthur Percival and Jonathan Wainwright here at the American Residence in Baguio. The signing of that document brought one of the darkest and saddest periods in history to an end. The signing was a solemn occasion as the world shifted its focus from conflict to recovery. The devastation in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere demonstrated that in global conflict, there are no real victors. Survivors feel the loss of loved ones, the despair of seeing the consequences of war around them, and the immense burden of rebuilding.”

    “Today, we find ourselves facing an entirely new and unprecedented set of challenges to our people, our economies, and our nations. In the global battle against COVID-19, our long-standing partnership is enabling the strong US-Philippines cooperation on display today. Together, we are tackling the public health, economic, and education challenges created by the virus. And as we reflect on our shared history, I am deeply grateful to those who came before us to lay the unshakeable foundation for our deep friendship and partnership.

    “From our soldiers and the vast network of support personnel serving together on the battlefield in 1945, to our scientists and public health experts collaborating today, the US-Philippines relationship continues to evolve to meet whatever challenges that come our way… To the Filipino and American veterans who sacrificed so much during World War II, today would not be possible without your incredible acts of bravery and courage…You have left an indelible mark on history that will not be forgotten.”

    For Filipinos then and now, “The victory of freedom’s forces in the Pacific places a heavy burden of responsibility upon all of us. It is our duty to live up to the principles of freedom and democracy for which so many have died and suffered. While we shall never forget their hardships, remembrance is not enough.” [Message of President Sergio Osmeña to Robert Smith, Chairman, Victory Chest Council, Los Angeles, California, September 4, 1945] Thus must we act to sanction the irresponsible Party in that tyranny where COVID-19 burst forth. [Revelation 12:7. “Michael and his angels fought against the dragon.”].

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