An anniversary worth remembering

Published 7:24 pm Thursday, September 3, 2009

For many, Wednesday’s anniversary of Japan’s surrender, ending World War II, was just another day on the calendar. For those, the date will simply have been Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009.

But, for a dwindling percentage of our population, Sept. 2, will forever be an important date on the calendar, one that for them marks an anniversary of the end of a long, grueling battle.

According to many reports, our country is losing between 1,200 and 1,700 World War II veterans each day. Each day, the greatest generation is chipped away, only to be remembered in memorials and history books.

But for as long as the opportunity is available, it should be our mission, our duty, to honor every day the sacrifice these men and women made in defending our country and in turn, defending our world.

After Germany’s surrender, American and Allied troops prepared for what many expected to be a horrific battle ahead in invading Japan and defeating the Imperial forces. The projections of those who would be wounded and killed in action were in the hundreds of thousands, a number that in itself helped ease the decision to drop two atomic bombs on the Japanese mainland.

In Thursday’s edition of the Suffolk News-Herald we recounted the feelings of two local World War II veterans as they were preparing to head to Japan. Their feelings are no less poignant today than they were more than 64 years ago.

This important anniversary may not have been met with parades and celebrations, as was the event 64 years ago that it marks today, but the impact of our troops’ success and their work after they came home should be celebrated each and every day. An anniversary like Wednesday’s just makes it easier to do so.

From all of us, we thank these veterans — and all veterans — for their service to our country and honor the sacrifices made in that service.