Recently I heard that an Atomic Museum has opened in Los Alamos, New Mexico featuring replicas of the Enola Gay and “Fat Man” and Little Boy,” the bombs that were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. This year for the first time the United States sent representatives to Hiroshima for Japan’s Peace Day remembrance of what happened sixty-five years ago. I am happy that we can now acknowledge the destruction we wrought and fascinated and revolted all at the same time with the museum. Following WWII my father participated in Operations Redwing and Hardtack testing the atomic bomb on Eniwetok in the South Pacific. I am revolted that there’s a cathedral to an event that caused in the neighborhood of 240,000 deaths immediately and an estimated 350,000 by 1978.
I know the conventional thinking is that American lives were saved when an invasion of Japan wasn’t needed to end the War in the Pacific, but I cannot help but wonder if the same effect would not have been achieved had a bomb been dropped over the ocean as a demonstration of its destructive power. I am also fascinated to learn that Japan may have been in negotiation with the Soviet Union at that time to surrender to them because the government thought they would get a better deal with the USSR. I will be interested to find out more about that since I cannot imagine that any sort of occupation by the Soviet Union would have been superior to that by the US.
Pearl Harbor and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki happened before Mizu and I were born and yet they shaped our lives by creating the atomic age we grew up in. Both of our father’s went on to work for Boeing and both of us attended the University of Washington School of Communications, although we did not meet until some four years ago. Getting to know Mizu has put a face on the other side of a conflict and period of time that was pivotal in my father’s life. As I work at finding a publisher for my father’s memoirs and as we recognize what happened sixty-five years ago I wonder if we will ever universally understand how close we are as human beings. By the time he wrote his memoirs in the late 1980s my father expressed his hope that we were seeing the dawn of universal peace for all time. He self published his writing for the family and went on to live to see September 11th and our invasion of Afghanistan and his hope end. Do we still dare to dream of peace?