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2015-09-06    来源:21英语    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


Subdued celebrations in US


To mark the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender, China is preparing a grand spectacle, complete with a military parade. Thirty foreign dignitaries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, are expected to attend.
为了庆祝反法西斯战争胜利70周年,中国正在准备一场规模宏大的纪念活动,包括阅兵仪式。俄罗斯总统弗拉基米尔•普京(Vladimir Putin)在内的30位外国政要将出席活动。

But across the Pacific, in the United States, the celebrations are a little more muted.

The Japanese surrender ended one of the bloodiest wars in American history, second only to the American Civil War. Over 16 million American service members entered World War II, and 291,557 died on the battlefield. They became known as the US’ “greatest generation”.

But the United States has struggled to memorialize the conflict in the 70 years since. Later wars, like the ones in Vietnam and the Korean Peninsula, received memorials years before World War II did. Only in 2004 did the US erect a World War II monument, alongside the other two war memorials.

And don’t expect any days off to commemorate World War II, either. There are federal holidays tied to the Civil War and World War I, but none for the US’ victory in 1945. Only Rhode Island celebrates the Japanese defeat with a statewide holiday.

A modest airshow did grace the skies over Washington DC this May, for the 70th anniversary of the Nazi defeat. And American newspapers are certainly noting the seven decades since Japan’s fall. But why is US’ “greatest generation” so poorly commemorated?

There is no simple answer, only a tangle of history and politics, honor and sorrow. G. Kurt Piehler, director of the Institute on World War II, believes part of the reason lies with the veterans themselves.
个中原因理不清道不完,交杂着复杂的历史、政治的因素,有荣誉也有悲恸。二战研究会主任G•库尔特•皮勒(G. Kurt Piehler)认为部分原因在老兵自己。

World War II veterans “wanted to get on with their lives”, Piehler wrote in an article for The Daily Beast. “They tended to avoid monuments and statues, choosing instead to commemorate the war with utilitarian structures such as parks, highways, community buildings, stadiums, and hospitals.”

Holidays and memorials also act as sources of unity and healing – which might explain why a national monument was built relatively quickly for the controversial Vietnam War, and not for World War II.

While World War II ended in triumph and pride for the US, the Vietnam War ended in stalemate and protest. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial created a place for Americans to reunite after the strife.

By contrast, American involvement in World War II was stamped by a strong sense of righteousness. The US felt dragged into the war by Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. And Americans’ moral outrage slowly grew when they realized the extent of Nazi persecution.

The US still clings to that self-image, of fighting for freedom against persecution, for democracy against fascism. But showcasing that victory ran contrary to another American value: aesthetic simplicity.

Hitler had built gigantic monuments to trumpet his power. Americans would celebrate theirs with ticker tape parades, and one very iconic kiss in Times Square.

There was also the matter of delicacy to consider. For instance, Rhode Island chose to call its holiday “Victory Day”, rather than “Victory over Japan Day”, to avoid souring relations with Japan and inciting anti-Japanese racism.

After all, remembering the past also means defining the future.

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