Advent Devotional, Dec. 7: “Enemies No More” by Richard L. Floyd
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is observed on this day to honor the 2,403 victims of the surprise attack in 1941 by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service on the U.S. Naval Station at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii.
When I was growing up in the years after WWII, Pearl Harbor Day was a big deal. Flags were lowered to half-staff. Even years later there was great animosity toward Japan because of the attack, which was unprovoked and without a declaration of war. President Roosevelt famously called December 7, 1941 “a date which will live in infamy.”
My father-in-law was an 18 year-old U.S. sailor in the Pacific theater near the end of the war, waiting on an aircraft carrier for the invasion of Japan. For many years he wouldn’t buy a car that was made in Japan.
Our war with Japan lasted nearly four years, and took the lives of millions of combatants and civilians on both sides. So many dead, so many wounded, so much suffering!
Over the generations there has been reconciliation between our two countries. Today Japan is one of our most trusted allies and trading partners. Thousands of Japanese tourists come to Washington, D.C. each year to see the cherry blossoms. My father-in-law now owns a Toyota.
In Advent we long for a day when such a war is inconceivable. We pray that God will so transform human hearts that wars will cease, and former enemies will live together as friends.
God of the nations, give us your gift of peace: peace in our hearts, peace in our homes, and peace in your world.
United Church of Christ Stillspeaking Devotional Published by Pilgrim Press. Shared with permission of the publisher.