Today is the 63rd anniversary of the detonation of the first atomic weapon of mass destruction. The United States dropped the bomb, nicknamed "Little Boy," at about 8:15 AM on Monday, August 6, 1945, on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing 80,000 people (by the end of the year the numbers had risen to 140,000). Three days later, August 9, the second bomb, "Fat Man," was dropped on the city of Nagasaki eventually killing 80,000 people.
This is one of the six photographs recording the disaster of Hiroshima. A precious photograph taken only three hours or so after the explosion.
Mr. Matsushige, who was a news cameraman then, wrote in the "Hiroshima Tokuho," issued on August 6, 1980, based on his experience, as follows:
"...in front of the police box of Senda township located at the west end of Miyuki Bridge, a policeman took off the lid of an oil can and started to give first aid treatment to the people with burns, but the number of the injured increased rapidly. I thought this must be photographed and held the camera in position. The scene I saw through the finder was too cruel. Among the hundreds of injured persons of whom you cannot tell the difference between male and female, there were children screaming 'It's hot, it's hot!' and infants crying over the body of their mother who appeared to be already dead. I tried to pull myself together by telling myself that I'm a news cameraman, and it is my duty and privilege to take a photograph, even if it is just one, and even if people take me as a devil or a cold-hearted man. I finally managed to press the shutter, but when I looked through the finder for the second time, the object was blurred by tears." (http://www.gensuikin.org/english/photo.html)
At the Peace Memorial Park this morning in Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba said "We who seek the abolition of nuclear weapons are the majority....
Last year 170 countries voted in favour of Japan's U.N. Resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Only three countries, the United States among them, opposed this resolution,"
The memorial speech was attended by the ambassador of nuclear-armed China, as well as Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and elderly survivors of the attack.
Officially the bombs were necessary to prevent the greater loss of life that would result from an American invasion of Japan. I don't know if this is true or not. I do know that we are living in a world with far too many nuclear weapons.
We are fighting a war in Iraq because (officially) our government was convinced that Saddam Hussein had developed atomic weapons. He did not. We have come close to war with North Korea and Iran over their development of nuclear weapons.
Earlier this year, if I remember right, Sen. Barak Obama said that he would talk to the leaders of Iran and that nuclear weapons would be off the table. Sen. Clinton made much of that promise, criticizing him for making it.
I sure do hope it's a promise he keeps. I fear for our world. I believe that if we aren't careful atomic weapons will yet destroy us. Whether it's the unsupervised weapons left over from the Soviet Union or weapons produced by new nuclear powers like Iran I am afraid for our world. We must speak out and hope to whatever God we worship that we can disarm before it's too late if it isn't already.