Matt. Regular guy from Tennessee. Electrical Engineering major. Moonlighting as a bad fiction writer....
I dont' get it either. I'm sure we'll get along famously.
It was amazing. All of us were facing the same direction. They were watching the screen, but I was watching them. In front of me were my three companions: my brother, Kris, my Hawaiian-American lifelong friend, Josh, and my brand new Japanese acquaintance, Yuki.
The contrasts didn’t end there. Because we were sitting in the middle of Pearl Harbor, watching the documentary of that attack on December 7th, 1941. The Day That Lived in Infamy.
And yet, though the reasons were painfully apparent, we did not hate Yuki for what his ancestors did. And neither did he hate us for the atomic bombs dropped on his country.
I began to wonder how that simple prospect eluded so many people. That if we simply knew one another, there would be no animosity. Perhaps that is a naive attitude to take toward the situation, but I feel like I’m not so far off from a solution. That assuming a prejudice against a group of people for the wrongs of ancestry doesn’t solve the past problem, but merely creates a present barrier between people.
I was still wondering about that as we were ferried across the Pearl Harbor to the memorial of the battleship USS Arizona, where the bodies of nearly 1,000 servicemen lay buried in the wreck. The wreck that lays in the harbor’s mud, but whose damaged, rusty, corral-covered 14-inch gun mount rises just out of the water.
Oil still leaks from a starboard hatch - coating the water in a thin film and creating a rainbow as the light refracts off of it. The rainbow… A good omen, if the Bible is to be believed… hanging in a film above a living cemetery of a thousand dead men.
And amazing, I thought, that Yuki was standing here beside me in support. In respect of my countrymen. When - if we had been alive those few decades ago - we would have been enemies.
Such contrast throws me off-balance, and makes me consider what the present-day equivalent of prejudice I have. I wonder if there is some unwarranted assumption I hold to be true that just isn’t. I am forced to consider. And I beg my fellow men to consider as well. For the friendships that could be. Would be. And should be.