Monday, August 6, 2012

On This Day in History, 67 Years Ago...

...The first atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, destroying most of the city and killing 140,000 people. Three days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki.

Usually there’s some mention of anniversaries like these but maybe news about the Mars landing, Sikh temple shooting, the fastest man in the world and the Northwest ‘heat wave’ took editorial precedence.

The remembrance ceremony in Hiroshima was attended by the grandson of President Harry Truman who ordered the bombs dropped. History, written by the winners of wars, justifies the bombing of civilians as bringing a quick end to World War II in the Pacific.

I grew up in the Atomic Age, practicing drills in grade school to survive an atomic bomb attack, reading with fascination the nuclear testing that went on in the Pacific in the ‘60s, sweated out the showdown of the Cuban missile crisis.

Thinking about what happened 67 years ago and the world I grew up in, I’m thankful that my children and grandchildren do not hear world leaders brandishing their nuclear arsenals nor policy makers blithely discussing ‘mutually assured destruction.’ I don’t know if my children get the poignancy and black humor of Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. And that’s OK.

Horrible wars continue to be waged in locales around the world and targeting civilian populations has become common practice. It is hard to fathom the savagery and cruelty our human species is capable of. It is hard to get a perspective on what progress our human species has made when the killing continues.

At least we can take solace that, after 67 years, we live in a world where it’s not likely that there will be bombings like that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There continues to be nuclear arsenals and there continues to be world leaders with fingers on triggers but let us pray that brave men and women will contain that madness.

--Mike Sato

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