Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Day the Sun Fell, August 6, 1945

Seventy-one years ago, the Sun fell to the earth. A single American bomber plane dropped a single American made bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, and the Nuclear Age began. Three days later an even more powerful bomb fell on Nagasaki. A perfect storm of circumstances permitted these atrocities to occur. Today we mark them. But do we understand? At Hiroshima, 70 to 100,000 people died literally in a flash. Wiped out, destroyed, annihilated, killed. People were vaporized, leaving behind only the outline of their bodies burnt into the stone; they are known as the shadow people. Survivors exposed to the radiation of the atomic bomb suffered long term effects. The Hiroshima bomb has a uranium core; the second bomb used plutonium. At Nagasaki, the death toll was close to that in the first bombing. These have been the only deployment of nuclear weapons against a real target. Temperatures at the explosion site reached 7900 degrees Fahrenheit, about the temperature of a sun spot. The debate over the motivation of the Americans in the bombing continues to rage like a fire storm, but the inescapable and unavoidable fact is that those two bombs killed around 120,000 human beings, many of them non-combatants, each bomb deploying maximum damage in seconds with no regard for the age or sex or level of participation in the war of any of the victims. August 6 and 9 are days no human being can afford to forget, events that should be burned into our conscience and our understanding like a shadow demanding remembrance.

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