72 Years Ago, Today…Nagasaki, Japan

On 9 August, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki, Japan. The first atomic bomb ever used was the one dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, which occurred on 6 August 1945. 140,000 people were killed in the bombing of Hiroshima, while 70,000 were killed in the bombing of Nagasaki. Men, women, and children all lost their lives in the blink of an eye.

Today, we have two man-children on two different continents, each with the ability to unleash those same horrors on the innocent with no regards to the cost. Those of us who have tried to talk sense to others, pleading for them to pay attention to the things which are vital to the survival of humanity and all other life on this planet, can only shake our heads in disbelief at the willful ignorance we are met with, time and time again.

I have no confidence that the Drumpf is capable of dealing with Kim Jong-Un on any reasonable level, and I know that I’m not the only one. From ABC News:

Amid growing tension between Washington and North Korea, the mayor of Nagasaki said Wednesday that the fear of another nuclear bomb attack is growing at a ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of his city.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged nuclear states to abandon such weapons and criticized Japan’s government for not taking part in the global effort toward a nuclear ban.

The bombing anniversary comes just as Pyongyang and Washington are trading escalating threats. President Donald Trump threatened North Korea “with fire and fury” and North Korea’s military said Wednesday it was examining its plans for attacking Guam.

“The international situation surrounding nuclear weapons is becoming increasingly tense,” Taue said at Nagasaki’s peace park. “A strong sense of anxiety is spreading across the globe that in the not too distant future these weapons could actually be used again.”…Taue sharply criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government for what he said were empty promises about working to achieve a nuclear-free world. He said Japan’s absence even during diplomatic negotiations for the U.N. Nuclear Prohibition Treaty, adopted in July, is “incomprehensible to those of us living in the cities that suffered atomic bombings.”

The outspoken mayor praised the atomic bombing survivors, or “hibakusha,” for their lifelong devotion to the effort. He urged Japan’s government to change its policy of relying on the U.S. nuclear umbrella and join the nuclear prohibition treaty as soon as possible.

The atmosphere today seems to be far more tense than it was during the height of the Cold War, and that’s saying quite a bit. All one can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best…and whatever happens, happens.

Hiroshima: 70 Years Later

Today, 6 August 2015, marks the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. It was one of the most horrific events in recorded human history. From the Huffington Post:

HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) — Japan marked the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Thursday, with Mayor Kazumi Matsui renewing calls for U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders to step up efforts toward making a nuclear-weapons-free world.

Tens of thousands of people stood for a minute of silence at 8:15 a.m. at a ceremony in Hiroshima’s peace park near the epicenter of the 1945 attack, marking the moment of the blast. Then dozens of doves were released as a symbol of peace. The U.S. bomb, “Little Boy,” the first nuclear weapon used in war, killed 140,000 people. A second bomb, “Fat Man,” dropped over Nagasaki three days later, killed another 70,000, prompting Japan’s surrender in World War II.
The U.S. dropped the bombs to avoid what would have been a bloody ground assault on the Japanese mainland, following the fierce battle for Japan’s southernmost Okinawan islands, which took 12,520 American lives and an estimated 200,000 Japanese, about half civilians.
Matsui called nuclear weapons “the absolute evil and ultimate inhumanity” that must be abolished, and criticized nuclear powers for keeping them as threats to achieve their national interests. He said the world still bristles with more than 15,000 nuclear weapons.”
From Al-Jazeera:
Bells tolled and thousands bowed their heads in prayer in Hiroshima on Thursday at ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing while survivors warned about Japan’s moves away from its pacifist constitution.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government are pushing security bills through parliament that could send Japanese troops into conflict for the first time since World War Two, sparking massive protests around the country.

Many with memories of the war and its aftermath are scathing about Abe’s steps away from Japan’s pacifist constitution in pursuit of a more robust security stance, and survivors of the bombing lambasted Abe at a meeting after the commemoration ceremony.

“These bills will bring the tragedy of war to our nation once again,” said Yukio Yoshioka, 86. “They must be withdrawn.”

Abe, who in a speech at the ceremony called for abolishing nuclear weapons, replied by repeating his view that the legislation was essential to ensure Japan’s safety.

At 8:15 a.m., the exact time the bomb dropped by the B-29 aircraft, the Enola Gay, exploded on Aug. 6, 1945, the crowd stood for a moment of silence in the heavy summer heat while cicadas shrilled, the Peace Bell rang and hundreds of doves were released into the sky.

Keigo Miyagawa, 89, was 19 at the time. “It felt like lightning. I saw this strong flash, and it was followed by this sound, and it swept me off my feet. I lost consciousness,” he recalled. “When I woke up … I was injured and bleeding.”

Credit: indianexpress.com

There is a very poignant anime movie titled Grave of the Fireflies that I saw a few years ago. It follows the short, sad lives of a teenaged boy and his sister following the incendiary firebombing of their city. From Wikipedia:

“The film begins at Sannomiya Station on 21 September 1945, shortly after the end of World War II. A boy, Seita (清太?), is shown dying of starvation. Later that night, having removed Seita’s body, a janitor digs through his possessions and finds a candy tin which he throws away into a nearby field. The spirit of Seita’s younger sister, Setsuko (節子?), springs from the tin and is joined by Seita’s spirit as well as a cloud of fireflies. Seita’s spirit then begins to narrate their story accompanied by an extended flashback of the final months of World War II.”

It’s very well-done…but it doesn’t have a happy ending. I think it illustrates the plight of many survivors following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, IMHO.

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