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A Letter of Thanks

from Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson
The letter below was written by Victor Davis Hanson to the Veterans of the Sixth Marine Division on the occasion of their Annual Reunion at Quantico, Virginia in August 2013. Guest Speaker, LtCol (Ret) Russell Scherck read the letter at the Reunion Banquet.

Victor Davis Hanson is an American military historian, columnist, former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a commentator in modern warfare and contemporary
politics for National Review and other media outlets. He is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. He is the author of some 250 articles, book reviews, and newspaper editorials on Greek, agrarian, and military history and essays on contemporary culture.

Victor Davis Hanson was named after his uncle, Vic Hanson of Fox Company, who was killed on Okinawa on May 18, 1945.

To the Veterans of the Sixth Marine Division

The United States owes a great deal of appreciation to you of the 6th Marine Division who suffered so much and fought so gallantly in the nightmare of Okinawa to defeat a fascistic system that had a quite different—and quite evil—vision of what life should be like on both sides of the Pacific. Because the Marines of the 6th Division were so competent and courageous, they ensured the defeat of Imperial Japanese forces in the last great—and in some ways the most brutal—of the battles that America fought against the Axis powers.

In some sense, at a terrible cost, you not only helped to free us from the specter of the Japanese nightmare, but also liberated the Japanese themselves from their own criminal government. The postwar prosperity and friendship between Japan and the United States—made possible only through the victory of U.S. Armed Forces—that followed from the sacrifices on Okinawa is the legacy of the 6th Marine Division.

Finally, I owe special thanks to the veterans of 29th Marines, who shared the ordeal of my namesake Victor Hanson, Jr., and whom, in a fortuitous way, over sixty years after Victor's death, I had the opportunity to know, even if vicariously, from reading about them in his letters home. I grew up with up constant stories of the character and integrity of Victor, who even at a young age had been the pride of a small agrarian Swedish-American family in Kingsburg, California.

My father, the late William F. Hanson, who flew on 40 missions on a B-29 over Japan and its territories, tried to explain to us even as children what Victor and his Marine comrades had done in Okinawa, and devoted his life to living up to Victor's ideals. I have tried my best as well, according to my lesser station, and wish again on this occasion to extend my appreciation to the Marines of the 6th Division for entering the inferno in a manner that few Americans could endure or indeed even contemplate—and emerging victorious, albeit at a frightening sacrifice on our behalf that you have all borne so nobly in the decades since.

Thank you again,

Victor Davis Hanson