On the 75th commemoration of Pearl Harbor today, outgoing President Barack Obama " rewards" our courageous veterans not with salutes and tributes for their valor and many sacrifices for the country during that difficult period and the ensuing Second World War, but with a stinging insult that undermines our old warriors' collective pain.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to make a historic visit to Pearl Harbor on December 26 and 27 with Obama, the first Japanese leader to do so. For such monumental visit by a close ally, it seems like Obama is willing to forget history, what that means for the country, and our veterans' feelings. This as he issues through his spokesperson Josh Earnest both an insult and a "warning" to veterans to set aside their personal feelings, specifically their " bitterness" over the December 7, 1941 surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces that killed 2,403 Americans and dragged the country into the Second World War.
Abe's visit on the very site of harrowing terror will inevitably open old wounds and scars of deep trauma suffered by our veterans for the unimaginable horrors they once went through following the Pearl Harbor attack and their fighting in the Second World War for America and its allies. This is especially true since it is not yet clear whether Abe will officially apologize on behalf of his country and people for the attack. Japan, -although being a cherished U.S. friend now- after all, has a history of not fully owning up and expressing remorse for its sins in the past.
When asked about the likelihood of Abe making an official apology during his visit, Earnest, the mouthpiece of Obama, instead took on an unforgivable stance by more than implying that the veterans' thoughts and pain on the matter mean less, if not nothing, when compared to " what's best for the country now".
Earnest did not stop there either, and aggravated the insult by suggesting that the veterans would only qualify to be described as " the greatest generation" if they can rise above their " bitterness" and appreciate the significance to present political realities of Abe's Pearl Harbor visit. It is as if Earnest was saying the veterans need to prove anew their patriotism, as if they have not sacrificed enough during the Second World War for flag and country, as if they have not loved their country enough.
But Earnest's stunning statements echoing the sentiments of Obama are not really surprising if we go by Obama's 8-year of presidency marked by his being insensitive and so out of touch with veterans and their issues, leaving our old warriors along with a great number of American service men and women feeling largely ignored.
Obama ,of course, would also be infamously remembered for ' almost' apologizing for the Hiroshima bombings during a visit in Japan.
During the campaign, one of the messages of President-elect Donald Trump that resonated well was his vow to give veterans the importance, appreciation and most of all, the respect they deserve from the government.
Our valiant veterans need to wait just a little more to get the proper recognition and just treatment due them- a little less than two months more.