Rectifying past wrongs

Over the past few months, the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of World War II has been the focus of considerable attention in the media. There have been a number of retrospective analyses of that conflict and the profound effect it has had on the political, economic, and social development of the world in the decades following.

One account, however—only a single-paragraph newsbrief—told a more personal story. It described a group of Japanese women who had been required to take part in their country's war effort during the 1940s. Now they were sending a gift and their deep regrets to the relatives of five children who had lost their lives during the war. These children, and one of the adults who was with them on a church picnic in Oregon in 1945, were killed by a balloon bomb they came across that day out in the countryside. The Japanese women, who were also young girls at the time of the tragedy, had assisted in making the balloons, which later were released off the Pacific Coast of the United States carrying bomb clusters. A note from the women said that the gift was "... a symbol of our earnest resolve never again to go to war and our fervent hope to bring the people of the world together in genuine love, to live in peace and friendship among us all." National and International Religion Report, June 5, 1989 .

January 29, 1990

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