72 years ago, plus some hours, my father flew over Hiroshima

Declassified photo 187 showing U.S. preparations to drop the ‘Fat Man’ nuclear bomb on Nagasaki

Seventy-two years ago, plus a few short hours, my father Alex was on the first reconnaissance flight over Hiroshima, after our country dropped the first atomic bomb any country in the world ever used to extinguish human beings.

My father was in combat intelligence in the Army Air Corps (now U.S. Air Force) in the Pacific Theater, WWII. This flight was hastily put together in the hours after we changed the world forever; for the brass, and for the press from the U.S. and her allies. My Dad didn’t want to go; this was his job, and he let the photographers and the higher-ups have the windows. He didn’t want to see. The smell was bad enough. My father was one of the few people serving who knew the bomb was coming. He knew where, and he knew when. Top secret. In the hours before it, when he should have been sending his men out on bombing runs, he was instead sending them off to small islands for fresh ham and fruit. Nobody who knew what was coming wanted any of his men to be the last poor sonofabitch killed in World War II. After the war, my father fought for vets’ rights with the American Veterans Committee, and later joined Veterans for Peace. He joined many, many peace marches, and taught me early: Find the vets, and march behind them. [And that will include transgender individuals, believe it].

This morning, Japan time, 50,000 people, including representatives of 80 nations, gathered at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park  as people do every year. World leaders are invited to the long-ago rebuilt city, for a serious talking-to:

“For us to truly realize a world without nuclear weapons, the participation of both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states is necessary”.Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe

The Japanese are only too well-positioned to lecture us all about what comes with the decision to deploy a nuke.  They have paid for that right with history. But more urgently now, they are in range of North Korea’s growing capabilities. Or soon will be.

So is Seattle. Or soon will be. New Jersey is not, but that’s not much comfort. I wish Kim Jong-un was all I feared. It’s also Japan. And it’s us.

This morning, their time, Japan again called for a denuclearized world. But last month, as the United Nations reached its first agreement to ban nuclear weapons, Japan refused to sign, though it solemnly adheres to its policy of not producing or allowing nuclear weapons anywhere on its land. But also refusing to sign are every one of the nations actually armed with nuclear weapons, more than 16,000 between them; Russia, the UK, France, Israel, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea – and the United States. Japan is afraid of North Korea, just across the Sea of Japan. The nuclear countries are, more or less, all afraid of each other.

Donald Trump holds the nuclear codes. The indolent, childlike pile of meat we have so tragically promoted above his station and abilities. The over-privileged man-child with poor impulse control now lazing in Bedmister.

Holds. The. Nuclear. Codes.

My father, who knew more than he wanted to about what nuclear weapons do, taught me to march in peace marches. Taught me to find the veterans and march behind them.


Recommended:
Read it: Trump’s reaction to North Korea cannot be nuclear (CNN)
Scroll through: Declassified photos of U.S. preparations for Hiroshima and Nagasaki
This wasn’t the recon flightbut it took the first and only known photo straight down over Hiroshima as the mushroom cloud took it. An incredible story – because the plane wasn’t supposed to be there

Comments (2)

  1. Bill Orr

    A wonderful story and an important message.

    Reply
  2. Nick Lento

    Thanks for sharing this history Rosi…only madmen would choose to use nuclear weapons these days. Sadly it seems there’s at least two such crazy sick bastards, maybe more.

    Reply

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