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Pearl Harbor aftermath illustrates America’s exceptionalism

By Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler

“A day that will live in infamy.” Those words to the nation and the world by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt were prophetic. On this 2016 commemoration of the Japanese attack on the U.S. at our Pearl Harbor facility, the world remembers.

Pearl Harbor should be cited as a shining example of American exceptionalism and benevolence. After being attacked in so cowardly a fashion, after the Japanese declared war on the U.S., and after winning a long and bloody war against Japan, the United States saved and rebuilt Japan. The people of Japan have had no better friend and helpmate than the former object of their attack, the United States.

America in its mentoring of defeated Japan stands as a living example of the instruction of Jesus to love your enemies and do good to them. Luke 6:27-28:

27 But to those of you who will listen, I say: Love your enemies do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Those America-bashers who speak of a selfish, racist America need only look at how America treated the Japanese people after Pearl Harbor, the bloody war, the Bataan Death March, the Japanese prison camps, the kamikaze suicide attacks, and the long-delayed refusal to surrender.

What historical example would be comparable to America’s rebuilding of Japan?

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Note with great benefit that the U.S. first fought the war in the Pacific. Then made the decision to twice use the atomic bomb on Japan to bring the war to an end and save hundreds of thousands of lives. Then strongly removed the evil leadership of the Japanese empire. Only when it was prudent to do so did the U.S. switch from swords to plowshares.

Pearl Harbor has indeed lived in infamy, and we who study history will never forget it nor its lessons.


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