Monday, August 06, 2007

A Moment of Silence

Today – 62 years ago....August 6, 1945, a B-29 bomber named Enola Gay dropped a bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. 70,000 people probably died as a result of the initial blast. By the end of 1945, because of the lingering effects of radioactive fallout and other after effects, the Hiroshima death toll was probably over 100 000. The five-year death toll from cancer and other long-term effects was in the region of 200 000.

For hours after the attack the Japanese government did not even know what had happened. Radio and telegraph communications with Hiroshima had suddenly ended at 8:16 a.m., and vague reports of some sort of large explosion had begun to filter in, but the Japanese high command knew that no large-scale air raid had taken place over the city and that there were no large stores of explosives there. Eventually a Japanese staff officer was dispatched by plane to survey the city from overhead, and while he was still nearly 100 miles away from the city he began to report on a huge cloud of smoke that hung over it. The first confirmation of exactly what had happened came only sixteen hours later with the announcement of the bombing by the United States.

President Truman’s first public announcement noted that the Japanese had been "repaid many fold" for their attack on Pearl Harbor. Revenge (and racism) may well have played a subtle part in Truman’s willingness to go ahead with the atomic bombing of Japan. As Truman explained, "When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast." Throughout the war, many Americans viewed the Japanese as an inferior and barbarous race, deserving of annihilation.

Pray with me for all who suffered the consequences of that bomb.
And for all who continue to suffer the consequences of the stupidity of war.

1 comment:

Sylvia said...

Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us at Corrymeela. I will indeed pray with you today for these people.