Difference that benefited us

To the editor:

I read the June 14 obituary of, and your June 15 front-page tribute to Keiko Eto Fore. I especially appreciate the sentences: “Keiko was a Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor as well as a patriotic American.” And: “Though she was a survivor of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, she did not harbor any ill will toward Americans and was as much a patriot as anyone born in the U.S.” America and Japan were bitter enemies when Mrs. Fore was 12, yet she lived the majority of her 85 years as a “beloved member” of our community.

The tribute pointed out the historic fact that “…America in the 1950’s was not so welcoming to Japanese people.” But, “With her grace and charm and sense of warmth and hospitality she won people over.” Many may not remember, and many of our young may not know about the sentiment that led to Japanese Internment Camps during World War II, but hopefully that was not that prevalent here in Scotland County in the 1950s when Kaeko Fore arrived.

According to your tribute, Mrs. Fore did not abandon her Japanese heritage, but with Japanese cooking and music became a human instrument of cultural exchange. Beyond her many attributes, to me Kaeko was the epitome of the example that people from other nations and different cultures can be beneficial American citizens, in spite of former national enmity. Yes, she came to America as a U.S. soldier’s wife, rather than an immigrant. Yes, on rare occasions immigrants commit horrendous crimes. But for each of those, how many Kaeko Fores bless our nation beyond measure?

Robert C. Currie Jr.