It’s a complex feeling to be in another country watching your president make an official announcement.
I am first and foremost an American and I stand behind the President of the United States 100%. I am proud of our troops and the sacrifices they make on a daily basis. I am in awe of the small, select group of men who killed Bin Laden and risked their lives to make the world a safer place.
I lived in Washington DC on September 11, 2001. I retrieved my son from his daycare within minutes of the attacks in New York. My husband, seeing the smoke from the Pentagon from the balcony of his office in Washington Harbor, made the brilliant choice to head home immediately, and did not get snarled in major traffic jams. The three of us were safe and together in under two hours. It took another six hours to confirm that my uncle in one of the Towers in New York had gotten out safely, but confirm it, we did.
Not quite ten years later, the mastermind of the attacks is dead and I rejoice with my country. I remember the unity the followed those days and I am grateful for the gift of my life and the lives of those I love.
But also, as I watch the continuing news coverage of the President’s speech and the joyful reactions of people around the world, I am reminded of the tragedy from which Japan has not yet recovered. Just over seven weeks ago, one of the greatest natural disasters in the world hit Japan, the country I have called home for six of the last eight years. I have taken a lot of criticism for leaving the country and going to the U.S. when the going got tough in the first days after the quake and subsequent tsunami. I had many conflicting emotions about my decision to leave and I have written here about my desire NOT to defend my actions. Leaving Tokyo does not mean that I do not love Japan.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I don’t want the world to forget. Celebrate and be joyous, America and friends. But remember that there are thousands of displaced people in northern Japan that need our help. New news will happen every day, but Japan will continue its work to rebuild the country. Even in the face of the great joy of ridding the world of the henchman of all terrorists, Japan still suffers. Let us remember.