Corey Takes Third in USS Missouri Essay Contest

Corey S.

The following is USS Missouri’s Essay Contest winner Corey S. essay.

Today the guns are not silent. Rather they are unheard by uncountable peoples who are neither their triggermen nor their shells’ recipients. Albeit sixty-seven years previously, the sounds of their firings had become momentarily taciturn with the signing of the Japanese’s surrender aboard the USS Missouri; thus providing a close to the last theater of the Second World War. On that same date, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, Douglas MacArthur, gave, beside a speech reputing the sacrifices made during war for an allied victory, a faithful sermon regarding the creation and conservation of a future of anticipated peacetime. In order to “devise some greater and more equitable system”, he quoted, our endeavors to reform ourselves, he later continued, “must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh”. While recognizing the massacres at Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and throughout East Asia and Oceania, as well as the brevity between what were once dubbed the “war to end all wars” and “the good fight”, his came in the form of a solemn obligation that humanity retire its theological differences alongside its kind’s increasing potential for self-obliteration, before the emergence of another hysterically, and inescapably, escalated global conflict. Therefore, MacArthur’s adage to change and eulogy of World War Two are apposite for understanding its many lessons. Such principles of liberty, forbearance, and social justice should not stand as the prerogatives of only the most affluent of societies, which have been ironically built and sustained upon the spoils of war. As a solution, their virtues should not be wholly safeguarded; although furthermore shared and preserved by all of humankind.

 “The date which will live in infamy” and “V-J Day” respectively marked the “bolt from the blue” beginning, and the bittersweet denouement for the most pervasive conflict of the Twentieth Century. Aboard the USS Missouri on September 2nd, 1945, the Allied Powers’ Instrument of Surrender was signed by the Japanese Emperor, Hirohito, his Imperial General Headquarters, and representatives from the Allied nations formerly at war with his Empire. The capitulation of the Japanese to the Allies marked a new beginning for many of both the vanquished and victorious. For the Japanese of both Pacific coasts, as well as for the returning American veterans, it was a time of reconstruction and socioeconomic readjustment. However, the characteristic themes of war and peace that these events signified, and the “mighty MO” is symbolic of, should not be overshadowed by American passivism and ignorance. This unawareness regarding civics, world history, ethnic interactions, and the humanities, constitutes a growing pressure that cripples human faculties for the tolerance of diverse belief systems in a contemporary world without borders. For perspective, in 2010 the United States ranked twenty-fifth out of the thirty-four countries participating in the Program for International Student Assessment for mathematics, but remains the largest financier of defense spending worldwide. The understanding of these subjects and acceptance of their morals could provide the lingua franca upon which the optimal, non-chauvinistic change of spirit should be derived.

Frequently, peaceful persuasion for domestic and international reform against xenophobic warfare cannot be successful, without contradiction, by the sounds of gunfire, or by the enunciation of terms for an absolute surrender. Once again, a communal reformation of the spirit is required, by first in order, “to save the flesh”. However, one does not simply walk into the hearts and minds of potentially cynical and pessimistic masses by means of subjective persuasion. Instead, we must instill a sympathetic knowledge among our compatriots of issues with pertinence to: militarization, disarmament, social justice, economics, and poverty. Therefore, I believe that a revitalized familiarity with these legacies of World War Two could solve numerous worldwide evils.

For us, as human beings, to realize such an amendment to the character of our world, we must take the foremost action of progressing ourselves. The possibilities that one can have for committing to the change of spirit are endless, however his decisions are definitive; as an individual, a collective, or for his individualistic nation. Nevertheless, when confronted with the intractable difficulty of procreative ignorance, it becomes essential for every generation of citizens to encourage the edification, amongst their friends, family, and fellow man, of the concepts of war, peace, and freedoms. Peoples’ consciousness for their social contract remains the foundation upon which their governments are erected, and sacrifices made for their sakes of preservation. Our change of spirit should be pragmatic, yet derivative from what history teaches and reenacted circumstances provide, to be compatible; because war never changes.

USS Missouri Essay Contest article