Japan’s WWII surrender commemorated virtually

Japan’s WWII surrender commemorated virtually

VIRTUAL CEREMONY. (clockwise) US Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., and Japanese Ambassador to Manila Koji Haneda attend the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Japanese surrender on Thursday (Sept. 3, 2020). Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso also participated in the virtual ceremony. (Photo by US Embassy in Manila)

MANILA – Manila and Washington on Thursday commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Japanese surrender, which marked the end of World War II.

The virtual ceremony included US Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, and Japanese Ambassador to Manila Koji Haneda.

Seventy-five years ago on September 3, General Tomoyuki Yamashita signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender in the presence of US Lieutenant-Generals Arthur Percival and Jonathan Wainwright at the American Residence in Baguio.

The signing of the document marked the end to one of the darkest and bloodiest periods in history. It also ushered in a post-war era where partners such as the Philippines and US could rebuild and recover.

“This opportunity, coupled with the indomitable spirit of Americans, Filipinos, and others around the globe enabled an unprecedented era of development and collaboration. To that end, the shared sacrifice of Americans and Filipinos in World War II led directly to our formal alliance, established in 1948, which has grown into a lasting partnership that goes well beyond mutual defense,” Kim said in a speech.

While the world is facing a different set of challenges today, the envoy said Manila and Washington’s long-standing ties since the war remains robust.

“In the global battle against Covid-19, our long-standing partnership is enabling the strong US-Philippines cooperation on display today. Together, we are tackling the public health, economic, and education challenges created by the virus,” he said. “And as we reflect on our shared history, I am deeply grateful to those who came before us to lay the unshakeable foundation for our deep friendship and partnership.”

Kim hailed all soldiers who served on the battlefield in 1945, as well as the scientists and public health workers combating the pandemic at present, reflecting what he dubbed as the two nations’ “evolving” relations.

“Time and time again, history has demonstrated that the United States, Philippines, and Japan are strongest when we work together as friends, partners, and allies,” he said.

“Let me conclude with a message to the Filipino and American veterans who sacrificed so much during World War II. Today would not be possible without your incredible acts of bravery and courage. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. You have left an indelible mark on history that will not be forgotten,” he ended.

In his remarks, Locsin hailed America’s role in bringing the World War II to a conclusion as well as the “protection” it gave Manila so that the latter could focus on reconstruction and progress.

He also noted that Washington’s global presence guarantees that the World War II “would truly be the War to End All World Wars even while running the risk that the next world war would be The One that Ended it All”.

“This still holds true today, despite the carnage in tragedy-haunted places. In that global peace free from foreign aggression and tyranny, for the most part we and most of the world made good use of the future,” he said.

“That future of peace and freedom is our present; and we guard it fiercely and without compromise; so that we and those who come after us shall ever live with the fullest reality and the most certain promise of peace and harmony without end,” he added. (PNA)

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