Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered a moving tribute to American soldiers lost in World War II during a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, as he recounted his visit to the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.
"In one corner stands the Freedom Wall," he said. "More than 4,000 gold stars shine on the wall. I gasped in surprise to hear that each star represents the lives of 100 fallen soldiers."
"I believe those gold stars are a proud symbol of the sacrifices in defending freedom," said Abe, the first Japanese prime minister to ever address Congress.
He said when he visited, he reflected on the "lost dreams and lost futures" of the young Americans killed as they fought Japan.
"History is harsh. What is done cannot be undone," he said. "My dear friends, on behalf of Japan and the Japnese people, I offer with profound respect my eternal condolences to the souls of all American people that were lost during World War II."
Abe then pointed to the House gallery, where a U.S. general who landed on Iwo Jima sat next to the grandson of a Japanese soldier who was a commander on the island. Abe said those men commemorate the lives of all lost soldiers on Iwo Jima, and watched as they shook hands.
"What should we call this if not a miracle of history?" he asked as members applauded. "Enemies that have fought each other so fiercely have become friends, bonded in spirit."