I am getting old, but I’m not yet ready for a nursing home. So I live in a “senior living” complex, where I have my own studio apartment. I come and go as I please (Though not very often. Mostly, I stay at home.).
This place provides us with three really good meals a day, seven days a week, and a housekeeper to clean our apartments once a week. A lot more help is available for those who need it.
But (finally getting around to the point of this post) I sit back-to-back at meals with a very nice lady a little younger than myself at the next table, who immigrated from Japan a couple of decades ago. She is polite, friendly, helpful, educated, and has been a United States citizen for many years now, She was elected “Tenant of the Month” by her fellow tenants a few weeks ago.
I was a young boy when the World War II ended, and I have no direct memory of it. But I do remember the bomber planes constantly flying over our house. And there is one more thing. I knew Mom and Dad were going to get a new baby, but I didn’t exactly understand the process yet. I was afraid my new little brother or sister would be a “Jap,” and I certainly hoped not.
What I am trying to get around to is that knowing this American woman who happens to have come from Japan reminds me that, if she had been in the U.S. when the “big war” began, she would have been locked up for four years with thousands of other patriotic citizens of Japanese ancestry in a concentration camp until the war ended.
It is horrifying to me to think America committed such atrocities upon our own loyal citizens. Not just some time in the distant past, but during my own life. If they or their parents or grand-parents came from Japan, it was feared they MIGHT sympathize with Japan,which was then our enemy; so they were rounded up like cattle and kept penned until the war was over.
And you think our great nation has nothing to apologize for?
I read the claim from time to time that people get soooo very upset with President Obama because they say he apologizes for the United States. Well, I claim we owe apologies to a lot of people, beginning with many of our own citizens.
The United States of America is truly a great nation — in many respects the greatest nation that has ever been — but we are nowhere close to being perfect. We still have a lot of room for improvement.