Monday, March 27, 2017

Japan: The Grateful Generation - Amir George




by Amir George

From the graves of brave Americans at Normandy to freeing East Germany from Soviet domination, the United States has been the major force in leading the world for good.

  • "We fought against them [Americans] and instead of harming us, they fed, clothed and rebuilt us. If it had been the Russians who had won the war instead, we would now be like North Korea." — Owner of a noodle shop, Japan.
  • Now is not the time to withdraw from the world, but to love, support and build a hurting and needy world that simply needs to know there is hope.
People may be familiar with the term "The Greatest Generation," now almost past, who fought World War II and rebuilt America in the shadow of the Great Depression.

Now there is "The Grateful Generation" -- those who were touched by "The Greatest Generation," their kindness and love in rebuilding the world after World War II. We in Asia and parts of the Middle East have a special place in our hearts for America.

From the graves of brave Americans at Normandy to freeing East Germany from Soviet domination, the United States has been the major force in leading the world for good.

After the end of World War II, General Douglas McArthur put out a call for 10,000 young men and women to help rebuild postwar Japan. Decades of abuse under a terrible dictator began slowly to heal.

My parents came to Japan, separately, from the West, met in Japan, married there, had their family and served the country for nearly 60 years.

When I was growing up in Japan, a strange event seemed to happen almost every day: Someone would stop, bow deeply and say "Arigato" ("thank you") sometimes accompanied by an awkward handshake or hug.

One day at a noodle shop, the owner said, "What nationality are you?"

"American", I said.

"Son", he said, "everything we have is because of Americans. We fought against them and instead of harming us, they fed, clothed and rebuilt us. If it had been the Russians who had won the war instead, we would now be like North Korea."

Throughout the world, particularly in Japan, Korea, Europe, the islands of the Pacific and so many other places, there were, and still are, people scattered throughout the world who were loved and cared for by the Americans.

The most important reason for decades of relative peace and stability in the world is not the United Nations or the European Union or the World Bank.

The real reason is that a hidden group of people, called "The Grateful Generation" fell in love with America and that love never left them.

One of the reasons for a rise in instability in the world is that this Grateful Generation -- for all America did for us -- is passing.

There is, however, a new "Grateful Generation" -- not the same in number and perhaps a bit more subdued, but in a most unlikely place: Iraq.

In Baghdad, we were with millions of America's best and brightest fanned out -- one for every ten Iraqis. We fixed the roads, fed the people, treated their wounds and, as one of my Iraqi relatives put it, "Loved us back to sanity."

The war in Iraq was steeped in the anti-American propaganda of Saddam Hussein and his insane sons as they looked fearfully out of the curtains, fearing what the Americans would do.

One of my relatives would look fearfully out the window and say, "It looks as if they are sweeping the streets and repairing the school."

"No," another would say, "They are probably laying bombs or landmines."

A few weeks into this strange situation, my family called a meeting.

"Something is going on with these Americans," they said. "We need to find out what they are planning." They then concluded that no matter how bad the Americans were, they would not harm the children.

So, the next morning they sent out the children; they came back in the evening laden with toys and candy and gum.

"No," my family said. "Put all the toys outside -- they are probably booby-trapped."

The next morning, one brave cousin ventured outside to check; there all the toys still sat.

Coming inside, he announced to the huddled family, "I am not sure how to put this, but I think the Americans are all right."


Soldiers from the U.S. Army's 4th Battalion hand out small American flags and gifts to children during a goodwill visit to a village outside of Tikrit, Iraq, on April 1, 2006. (Image source: U.S. Army)

Another day, a man walked up, put three fingers up to his lips in the traditional Arab style, kissed them and lifted them to the sky. "God bless George Bush!" he said. "God bless America!"

Just think of Afghanistan, or Syria or Africa or Indonesia or the Philippines -- the list goes on and on -- each place where America went to bind up the wounds of war, help after a natural disaster, treat people for illnesses and more.

Do not listen to those who say that America needs to withdraw from the world because all we get is criticism for the good we do.

Now is not the time to withdraw from the world, but to love, support and build a hurting and needy world that simply needs to know there is hope.


Amir George is the author of the book, Liberating Iraq.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10114/grateful-japan

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Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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