Iwo Jima

FORTY years after the battle it was a welcome healing of bitterness. American and Japanese veterans shook hands or embraced; tranquillity and a sense of shared experience were replacing memories of bombardment and animosity on Iwo Jima. The American assault on Iwo Jima resulted in one of the fiercest battles in World War II, with more than 25,000 fatalities combined.

Now much of the dark volcanic rock the veterans so well remember lies under waving grass, a fitting softening of the landscape.

Relations between the two nations long ago turned friendly: They are major trading partners and political allies.

This is the year of the 40th anniversary of the ending of the war. Major commemorations will be held in Europe in May to commemorate the closing of the European chapter of the conflict.

Vigilance is ever necessary to protect liberty. But as for the past, it is time to do as the Iwo Jima veterans have done -- time to forgive and forget. ----30--{et

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