WHAT is the greatest human virtue of all? That is a question philosophers have argued about for thousands of years.
Forgiveness must be one of the top contenders, because, without it, we diminish our future by holding onto the past. That was something that Adrian McCarthy, an Irish doctor with the Royal Air Force, understood during the Second World War. He endured the most horrific treatment by his Japanese captors, while interned in Nagasaki, but he had the humanity to forgive them, even protecting the prison camp’s commander when the atom bomb was dropped and Japan surrendered. In return, the camp commander ceremoniously surrendered his samurai sword.
His extraordinary story of courage, humanity, and survival is to be given royal approval in Britain, when Prince Harry joins Adrian’s daughters, Nicola and Adrienne, to name an RAF facility in his honour. It will be a proud moment for them, though it hardly matched an even prouder one when the sisters went to Japan and did their father the honour of also forgiving his former enemies.
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