Monday, August 6, 2012

Thoughts on Hiroshima on August 6, 2012

The Cenotaph (grave for unknown people)
You can see the Atomic Dome on the other
side of the mall
It has been another year. It has now been 67 years since the United States government dropped its  first atomic bomb in warfare. The target: the port city of Hiroshima in the prefecture of Hiroshima, Japan. On August 6, 1945 the world was changed forever when Hiroshima burst into flames and mostly ceased to exist.

Shadows were etched onto the sides of buildings. Skin was burnt off of bodies. Glass bottles melted into deformed shapes. Entire buildings of brick, mortar, and concrete collapsed.

 Every year when this day comes I can not help but think that War is Hell. These victims did not ask for war. Their sin was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunately, the world has seen this type of "collateral damage" time and again.

The Atomic Dome the week after the blast
I don't say that dropping the bombs was a mistake. I have read enough history and I think I know the Japanese mentality well enough to know that if the choice was between a full-scale attack of Japan by Allied forces or dropping the bombs, the bombing might have been the lesser of two evils. This doesn't make it "good."

I think seeing this type of devestation has made me not enjoy war movies or shoot 'em up computer games. Certainly I can not dis-associate myself from some of these cold, calculating military types who talk of "numbers" when they are really talking about "corpses."

The epicenter of the blast was in the air
above the Atomic Dome (on the left of
the shadow, on the banks of the river)
It has now been about seven years since I've visited Hiroshima. Although Japan is a small country (about the size of the US west coast) it's domestic transportation facilities leave a lot to be desired. So when I go back to visit family and friends in Miyazaki (very Southern island of Kyushu), my friends and "family" in Hiroshima are off that path. I do need to go back again soon, though.

No US President has ever visited Hiroshima. I can't find any specific incident when the Japanese Emperor visited Pearl Harbor, either, although he has talked about going several times. Symbolic gesture only? Maybe, but symbols are very powerful things.

No comments:

Post a Comment