>Three days ago I posted briefly on the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. Today is the anniversary of the second nuclear bombed used against humans. That second bomb was, as we know, dropped on the people of Nagasaki.*
Normally I am not focussed on such events, but I had a strong sense that I should not post on Hiroshima without posting Nagasaki. Also, we must remember these events, their ramifications, their implications, and the reasons why they occurred. I am inclined to think that any bomb, no matter how big or small, used against humans, especially civilians – including children – is reprehensible.
The existence of bombs (and all things military for that matter) is a result of failure – failure to love, to forgive, to show mercy, to give grace, to allow for differences, to be content. But there is a unique place in human history for atomic bombs, not merely for the scale of the horror they unleash, but also because they are an ultimate symbol of failure.
Here is a video clip of that bomb and that fateful day:
There are two striking facts in that video: 1) The signing of their names on the bomb itself by those who built it and delivered it. Somehow they knew of the impersonal nature of what they were unleashing, that they had created something of ultimate terror yet were entirely disconnected from the intended victims, so they had to deliver their names with the bomb. And yet, they did not shrink from being merchants of death. 2) The military video only shows the stunning explosion from the air and not of what was really happening under that mushroom cloud. This preserves the images of the bomb’s “beauty” without the suffering. Those are the images most Americans continue to have of those bombs.
These facts continue to our day. Soldiers still sign their names to bombs and give names to their weapons. The news still largely focuses on the awesome beauty of weapons rather than on the horror they unleash. But we are called to something greater.
*It seems more appropriate to say the people of Nagasaki or the people of Hiroshima rather than just use the names of the cities themselves. Sometimes city names conjure images of maps, and those bombs were not dropped on maps.