I remember VJ Day; I was five years old. Suddenly, strangers poured out from the apartment buildings across the street and down the block. They crowded into the middle of our busy street, where I was never allowed to play. Strange women I would never see again picked me up and handed me to each other in the street and hugged me and cried, "The war is over!"
That evening, I learned I had four uncles. They had enlisted together in the Navy on Monday morning, Dec. 8, 1941. Now, they would all be coming home soon. In 2001, my favorite, Uncle Courtney, reminisced to me about July and August 1945. His ship left Saipan and berthed at Taipei. He was told he would be in the first wave of men invading the home islands of Japan. He heard rumors that American casualties were expected to be 500,000 to 1,000,000 men from that operation. He expected not to survive, and my other uncles on their ships held the same fear.
Millions of Americans, like my sweet younger cousins, are alive today because they were born after their fathers returned from the Pacific. My cousins and their children and grandchildren exist because America dropped those two horrible, but absolutely necessary bombs.
Had we, instead, invaded Japan, Japanese suicidal fanaticism, which they continually demonstrated since 1942; would have forced our military to destroy their entire civilization. That would have been the world's greatest tragedy, during a century already reeling with the greatest tragedies ever seen.
-- JOY K. RASCH, Kennewick