"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)


75 Years: Second World War Officially Came To An End (September 2, 1945)

Aboard USS Missouri (BB-63), 2 September 1945:
Lieutenant General Richard K. Sutherland,
U.S. Army, watches from the opposite side of the table.
Foreign Ministry representative Toshikazu Kase
assists Mr. Shigemitsu. Credit: Naval Historical Center
Photo # SC 213700 via Wikimedia
On 2 September 1945, seventy-five years ago, on the teak decks of USS Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay, representatives of the Allied and Axis Powers met in solemn ceremony to “conclude an agreement by which peace can be restored.” WWII officially came to an end which sealed the V-J Day (Victory Over Japan Day). The Surrender Ceremony lasted a mere 23 minutes ending the bloodiest conflict on earth which began six years earlier on September 1, 1939 when Nazi Germans invaded most of Western Poland. U.S. General Douglas MacArthur opened the ceremony at 9:02 AM with a two-minute opening speech

The first to sign the Instrument of Surrender was Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu, "By Command and on behalf of the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese Government" (9:04 AM), followed by General Yoshijirō Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, "By Command and on behalf of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters" (9:06 AM). Accepting the surrender was U.S. General MacArthur, Commander in the Southwest Pacific and Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, who affixed his signature on behalf of all the Allied Powers (9:08 AM). Also among the signatories were the various representatives of the Allied Powers in attendance. Huge formation of American planes dappled the horizon in Tokyo Bay in a ceremonial flyover to accord high respect to this fateful moment. Japanese Emperor Hirohito early on August 15, 1945, broadcast over radio his acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration that placed Japan under U.S. Occupation for the next several years.

What is the most Christian way of approaching these events? I quote Pope Francis' resounding call from last March 27, 2020 Urbi et Orbi apostolic blessing ('to the city [of Rome] and to the world').
[...] “Be converted!”, “Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12). You are calling on us to seize this time of trial as a time of choosing. It is not the time of your judgement, but of our judgement: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others. We can look to so many exemplary companions for the journey, who, even though fearful, have reacted by giving their lives. This is the force of the Spirit poured out and fashioned in courageous and generous self-denial. [...]
Humanity could not seem to get its act together for eons starting from the time of the Israelites. “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life..." (Deuteronomy 30:15). How to choose? Pope Francis said in a recent interview by Austin Ivereigh for the The Tablet, refering to Virgil’s Latin epic poem Aeneid, "... when Aeneas, following defeat in Troy, has lost everything. Two paths lie before him: to remain there to weep and end his life, or to follow what was in his heart, to go up to the mountain and leave the war behind. It’s a beautiful verse: "Cessi, et sublato montem genitore petivi" (I gave way to fate and, bearing my father on my shoulders, made for the mountain). This is what we all have to do now, today, to take with us the roots of our traditions, and make for the mountain [together with the Lord]." Fr. JM Manzano, SJ

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