Thought for the day 15 August

There are commemorations today of 75 years since VJ Day, the official surrender of Japan and end of the Second World War (albeit scaled back from what had been planned). At the time those fighting in the ‘Far Eastern theatre of war’ felt they were the forgotten forces, especially when the politicians and public at home moved on to think of the post-war future, rather than continued fighting. As prisoners of war and internees were released horrific stories of cruelty were uncovered. It must also be acknowledged that the war in the Far East has been a problem for later generations. While the war in Europe was against the ideology of the Nazis, the war in the Far East was a war between imperial powers – Japan seeking to establish its rule over peoples and territories in place of British, French, Dutch and American rule/influence. In the decades since 1945 territories that were formerly colonies or imperial possessions have gained independence and have different views of that war. Today is an opportunity to remember those who died, those who suffered. It is an opportunity too to think about the complications of history and ties: Japan is now a friend, China has a more ambiguous relationship, most of the former imperial territories are part of the Commonwealth, and the economic balance of power has shifted from Europe to East Asia. Information on official commemoration can be found at https://ve-vjday75.gov.uk/vjday/ and there is also information on the Poppyscotland website

Lord, the Second World War happened a long time ago, though its consequences are still felt. We remember the courage, the determination, the suffering, the mistakes, the things that are clearer with hindsight. In its aftermath people sought a better world, a world of human rights and a welfare state here. As we look to the future, give us the vision and determination to create a more just and peaceful country and world

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