Saturday, August 06, 2005

remember japan's 9/11

I love every member of my family, despite our flaws, despite mistakes each and every one of us has made in the past.

Those mistakes cannot be ignored, nor can they be forgotten. If we can bring ourselves to at least acknowledge them, they can serve to help us get on with our future.

The same applies to my country. I am an American citizen, and I am very much happy to be one.

On July 4 of every year, The United States of America celebrates everything about herself for which she is proud, and rightly so.

I believe August 6 should be a day of reflection for all Americans, where we take in everything that happened around that day sixty years ago, and maybe, just maybe, we can look at the world in a light that doesn’t follow the over-simplistic “good guys/bad guys” mentality many would have us believe is reality.

Pearl Harbour, Nazism, 9/11, Bali, Madrid and most recently London all were human tragedies.

So were Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In retribution for attacking a military target, Weapons Of Mass Destruction were unleashed by the US on two civilian towns in Japan in 1945. The radioactive legacy remains in both regions even today.

These are facts that noone can airbrush out of history.

I have yet to be convinced these events are not right up there with the others. I am constantly amazed by the way so many from a race of people are in such collective denial that this event was an atrocity when they in turn are so willing to acknowledge atrocities performed by others.

What will we learn from it all?

How should we explain it all to our children?

Just to be clear - the point I am making here is not about which atrocity was greater or more terrible than the other, just the fact that they should all be defined as such.

The USA has done much more good since 1945, but this was extremely bad. I for one am willing to come to terms with that fact, and I believe one day out of each year to both commemorate it and learn from it is appropriate.

These pictures are from an excellent set I found on BBC.com – click here to see them all.



Between 2,000 and 6,500 children are believed to have been orphaned by the atomic bomb, although the exact number may never be known.

Now, Hiroshima is an important industrial city with a population of 1.1 million.


About a third of Hiroshima's population was killed within a week of the bombing. Many more have since died through radiation sickness.

The first atomic bomb used in war was dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August, 1945. The A Bomb Dome, the former Trade Promotion Hall, is one of the few buildings near the epicentre of the blast still standing from that time.

A powerful focus for children in Hiroshima is a memorial to Sasaki Sadako, a 10-year-old girl who died from leukaemia as a result of the radiation. She believed that if she could make 1,000 paper cranes - Japanese good luck symbols - she would be healed.

The Peace Memorial Park near the A Bomb Dome has a number of different monuments and statues. In front is the Memorial Cenotaph with its Flame of Peace, which will burn for as long as there are nuclear weapons.



Contemporary pictures by Mike Coles

3 comments:

dave said...

I searched your blog and have yet to see one condeming of the numerous war crimes Japan committed during WWII.

I've blogged on this subject today perhaps you'd be interested in reading why I think the bombing was necessary and why Japan is wrong to take the victimisation position as much as it does.

http://davesrants.com/2005/08/06/the-big-japanese-love-in

Buffalo said...

This is an excellent post, Jeff. Well written, well thought. I both disagree and agree with your thoughts.

shandi said...

I don't find it necessary to post my comments/opinion regarding the politics of war and our nation's decision to drop the bomb. I do find it necessary to grieve for the families affected. You can't look at that little boys face and ignore the pain.
I've seen photos from Iraq, considering that the ex is currently serving. I'm still having nightmares. "Yeah... that's war for ya." At least have the courage to look at the REAL photos... not just the ones shown to us on the evening news. Have the courage to look at the other side. Feeling their pain doesn't mean that you don't support our troops or our government.
Their memory deserves respect.
Great post JL.