Getting Beyond 2020!

The United States of America is in the middle of an historic election. Large numbers of the population will likely vote for each of the two candidates. But whether the outcome of the election is close or not, one group will be devastated and the other jubilant. It is this division that is most concerning to me.

And this is not just happening in the United States. This kind of division is happening around the world.

The impact of this election, and this time in the world, will have a life-long impact on our children. They will grow up in the shadow of the pandemic. They will form in an atmosphere of unrest. They will inherit the anxiety and uncertainty they see all around them. Unless we can change and learn to work together.

On June 21, 2001, my family visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial. We boarded a ferry from the shore to the sunken USS Arizona. On the ferry were two older men in uniform. One had served in the American Navy. The other in the Japanese Navy.  

When we arrived, a lone bugler played taps in the marble hall.

60 years before, on a bright Sunday morning, the bugler had been a 19-year-old-boy standing beside his captain 50 feet from this spot. Out of nowhere, Japanese planes arrived and shot his captain dead. 9 torpedoes and 2 bombs sank his huge ship in 11 minutes. It was just the beginning…But now, long after the world was engulfed in war and reemerged, retired Master Sergeant Dick Fiske embraces his dear friend Zenji Abe [AH-bay], who was also there in 1941.

Abe was a dive-bomber leader of 9 planes from Akagi, Japan. As Fiske plays taps, Abe places 2 red roses by the names of the dead. Beyond all expectations, these former enemies (and their countries), now fast friends, have found understanding, forgiveness, and peace.

Since that day in 2001, both Fiske and Abe have passed away. But they leave behind a spirit of reconciliation. Our world needs that spirit now. No matter who wins and who does not, we need to learn to work together. Our children need our example of cooperation if we are going to move beyond 2020.

Published on: October 23, 2020
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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