Several weeks ago, I read about the Post Office giving up an idea of a stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. I can understand the feelings of both sides in the story; the Japanese for being justifiably not so happy about dredging up their militaristic past and downfall and the Veterans groups who feel they were denied something after serving their country so faithfully. However, both sides seem to forget one important fact.
World War II was considered a “good” war. The issues seemed cut and dried; even to someone like myself who only knows about the war through books and documentaries in black and white. Perhaps for the only time in its history, this country united against a close approximation of total evil; Tojo and the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hitler and his inhuman Final Solution.
However, in this so-called good war, it is estimated — conservatively — that well over 50 million people died, millions of others were maimed both physically and spiritually. This is not an argument against participation in World War II nor some revisionist look at history. It is an opinion that even good wars can best be described as horrific. And the only good thing about such wars is their conclusion.
I wish to recommend the Post Office design a commemorative stamp not with the Atomic Bomb, but rather the classic Life Magazine photograph of the sailor kissing the nurse on a street in New York City. To me, this picture symbolizes the most important aspect of this historical event; the immense relief and happiness the nation felt when at last the war was over.