On this day in 1945, on the teak deck of the USS Missouri, representatives of the Empire of Japan unconditionally surrendered to the United States, Great Britain, and allied forces.

The cataclysm of World War II had ended. Millions of lives lost, untold treasure squandered. While two political regimes were utterly repudiated, the post-war world would see two others struggle for supremacy.

Oddly, our two bitterest foes would become strong allies in that post-war environment, and our putative ally in the war would be our greatest opponent.

America turned to beating her swords into plowshares, not knowing in that less than five years, she would again have to take up arms in defense of others.  GEN MacArthur, already well overage at the end of the war, would do perhaps his best work in the reconstruction of Japan. His tenure in Korea would be less successful.

Millions of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, spared the invasion of Japan by the atomic bombs, were suddenly confronted with something they had dared not hope for just two weeks before- a future. They had donned khaki in the service of their nation, and quickly learned discipline and dedication, not the parade ground variety, but that kind that wins on the battlefield. They would now flee the ranks in droves. But they would not soon forget the lessons they had learned. Raised in the hardship of the Depression, battle tested by war, exposed to the world, they would return home knowing how not to run a country, and have strong ideas how one should be run. They would educate themselves, and work hard and strive to build lives with the second chance they were given. They would lead the US economy in an economic boom that was unprecedented. If they later were perhaps too soft on their children, can we blame them for not wanting them to suffer as they did?

The USS Missouri would continue to serve her country for another 50 years. She rests peacefully just a short distance from the USS Arizona. One marks the American entry into World War II. The other, the end. Fitting, I think.

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