veterans campaign to keep "japs surrender" headline

This is definitely an example of some Americans refusing to let go of old school racist words... At a VA hospital in Indiana, framed newspapers featuring significant headlines from World War II decorate the walls. However, one of the newspapers in particular -- the front page from an August 1945 Indianapolis Times -- has been the source of controversy: Word from World War sparks a war of words. The headline: "JAPS SURRENDER."

The newspaper was removed when an employee complained the headline was offensive. This move, in turn, offended a group of retired Marines who called the removal "whitewashing history." Really? Without this particular wall decoration hanging there, is anyone really going to forget that Japan surrendered to the United States in World War II?

The offended veterans have apparently started a letter-writing campaign among veterans nationwide. Is that really necessary? It's definitely a generational issue. I guess for someone like me, I don't understand the idea of wanting so badly to hold on to racist language, even if it captures a particular moment in time.

Using slurs like "Jap," like "gook" (hey, John McCain), is a way of dehumanizing the enemy -- the first rule of war. But the war is over. It was over a long time ago. I just have a hard time seeing what purpose such a headline serves hanging in the halls of the hospital today. (Thanks, Koji.)

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