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Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Erimian A. You are absolutely right that those of us who do not have to go to war can have no way of fathoming what it is like and what kind of emotional responses become a part of that battle. I am more aware of that than ever after watching the documentary I mentioned in my comment. It is truly humbling to see what the veterans of World War II had to go through in that necessary war. It makes our problems seem very, very small.

I broke down into tears watching the final episode of this documentary. It concluded with a message from a veteran whose story had been followed throughout the documentary. He had served in the Pacific war, been captured, and had been a part of the horrific Batan death march, where he watched many of his comrades die along the way — some of starvation, fatigue, or just killed for no reason at the hand of their captors. He survived years of imprisonment in a Japanese prison camp, where beatings were routine and prisoners were given barely enough food to stay alive. His family thought he was dead. When he finally came back after the war was over, he could not stop hating the Japanese. It ate away at him that he was being mentally tortured all over again, living through his personal hell over and over again, while the Japanese people were moving on from the war. Decades later, he finally came to the conclusion that the hate and anger he was living with was too much to keep carrying. He forgave. He stopped hating. I cried and cried as he told this part of his story, because I knew what had come before. It was almost inconceivable that anyone could forgive after going through what he went through, but it was the only thing he could do.

There is always an excuse to hate. But there is never one good enough. Fight? Yes, when necessary. Hate? No.

I don’t think it dishonors the dead to learn from history. We should honor heroism with our eyes open. And I think there are men who lived through that war who would agree with me.

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