August 9, 2007

White Light, Black Rain

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I saw a documentary on HBO tonight entitled White Light, Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I was born in 1980 over 30 years since the bomb was dropped killing over 210,000 people. My father was in his late 40s when I was born so he was old enough to remember the war. He was a prejudiced man, referring to any oriental as a "jap". I used to be shocked at the way he looked at orientals or anyone of a different color or race but now I just think he was a product of his time. Though it doesn't make it right, it was a different time back then and my father along with millions of other Americans, Japan was the enemy, the monster behind Pearl Harbor.I have always been interested in Nuclear Engineering and the Atomic bomb so I Tivoed the documentary. It really opened my eyes to the sheer horror that happened that clear, August day in 1945. It's almost unreal the damage caused by that bomb. People unlucky to be close to ground zero were vaporized on impact. The few survivors suffered from missing limbs, eyes, and skin melting off their bodies. Many died from their injuries. The light and heat was so bright and intense from the bomb that human shadows were burned into the concrete. The few people who survived and had no outward signs of disfigurement or injury began to develop mysterious symptoms, such as purple spots, hair loss, and fever. Bones and charred bodies were littered all over the Japanese cities. A survivor said in the documentary that the only to move was the flies swarming over the numerous bodies. Everything was in ruin, rubble, and death. Today, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are thriving Japanese cities. If not for the numerous memorials marking the cities, one may never know what had happened there.What surprised me the most was the attitude of the pilots of the planes who carried and dropped the bomb. They seemed to have no remorse or a real understanding of the complete and total destruction, and evil that was released onto the cities those days in August. They had a job to do, in order to end the war, and they accomplished that objective.
So much destruction, so much death. It just makes me wonder what will happen to mankind with that kind of technology that can destroy every living thing on earth. What happens if someone actually decides to use it again?


Hiroshima bomb pilot dies aged 92

Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr, the man who commanded the first atomic bomb mission, is seen in front of Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.

Gen Tibbets (centre) always said he had no regrets Tibbets on Hiroshima The commander of the B-29 plane that dropped the first atomic bomb, on Hiroshima in Japan, has died.
Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr died at his home in Columbus, Ohio, aged 92.

The five-ton "Little Boy" bomb was dropped on the morning of 6 August 1945, killing about 140,000 Japanese, with many more dying later.

On the 60th anniversary of the bombing, the three surviving crew members of the Enola Gay - named after Tibbet's mother - said they had "no regrets".

'No headstone'

A friend of the retired brigadier-general told AP news agency that Paul Tibbets had died after a two-month decline in health.

Gen Tibbets had asked for no funeral nor headstone as he feared opponents of the bombing may use it as a place of protest, the friend, Gerry Newhouse, said.
The bombing of Hiroshima marked the beginning of the end of the war in the Pacific.
Japan surrendered shortly after a second bomb was dropped, on Nagasaki, three days later.
On the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima, the surviving members of the Enola Gay crew - Gen Tibbets, Theodore J "Dutch" Van Kirk (the navigator) and Morris R Jeppson (weapon test officer) said: "The use of the atomic weapon was a necessary moment in history. We have no regrets".
Gen Tibbets said then: "Thousands of former soldiers and military family members have expressed a particularly touching and personal gratitude suggesting that they might not be alive today had it been necessary to resort to an invasion of the Japanese home islands to end the fighting." Air show Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr was born in Quincy, Illinois, in 1915 and spent most of his youth in Miami.

He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1937 and led bombing operations in Europe before returning to test the Superfortress.
He retired from the forces in 1966.
In a 1975 interview he said: "I'm proud that I was able to start with nothing, plan it and have it work as perfectly as it did... I sleep clearly every night."

In 1976, Gen Tibbets was criticised for re-enacting the bombing at an air show in Texas.
A mushroom cloud was set off as he over flew in a B-29 Superfortress in a stunt that outraged Japan. Gen Tibbets said it was not meant as an insult but the US government formally apologised.
In 1995, Gen Tibbets denounced as a "damn big insult" a planned 50th anniversary exhibition of the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian Institution that put the bombing in context of the suffering it caused. He and veterans groups said too much attention was being paid to Japan's suffering and not enough to its military brutality.

Story from BBC NEWS: 2007/11/01 16:57:00 GMT

August 8, 2007

My very dear Sarah

My very dear Sarah:
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days -- perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure -- and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine O God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing -- perfectly willing -- to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows -- when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children -- is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country?I cannot describe to you my feelings on this calm summer night, when two thousand men are sleeping around me, many of them enjoying the last, perhaps, before that of death -- and I, suspicious that Death is creeping behind me with his fatal dart, am communing with God, my country, and thee.I have sought most closely and diligently, and often in my breast, for a wrong motive in thus hazarding the happiness of those I loved and I could not find one. A pure love of my country and of the principles I have often advocated before the people and "the name of honor that I love more than I fear death" have called upon me, and I have obeyed.Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me -- perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar -- that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have oftentimes been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more. But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the garish day and in the darkest night -- amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours -- always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father's love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God's blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.


This letter was written by Sullivan Ballou in 1861. He was a Major in the Civil War. He wrote the letter on July 14, 1861 and died one week later at the Battle of Bull Run. I have always been interested in history particularaly the Civil war. I first came across this letter at the library. A book caught my eye For Love and Liberty by Robin Young. The book goes into detail about the author of the letter, and his family. If you are at all interested in the Civil War, I recommend this book. It's unbelievely touching and brings the terrible cost of war into perspective.

August 5, 2007

Old Wagon & Consolidated Machine Co.

I was informed that an old building in the downtown area of Idaho Falls, which was the site of the old Wagon & Machine Co was set for demolition. The branch of the company in Idaho Falls was managed by Gilbert George Wright in 1889. If you haven't figured out yet, I'm a history buff.
So I went down and took some pics of the building.

I wasn't able to get inside, but got some good shots of the outside of the building. I also found the graves of the Wright family in Rose Hill Cemetery.
It just seemed kinda of strange to me that a 100 years ago the Wright family was a prestigious, popular, welcomed part of the community and now most people don't know their name. The only thing left is a few stones in the old part of Rose Hill Cemetery. You can check out Rose Hill Cemetery and some pictures of the Wright plot on my website. It amazes me how much this city has changed. I love looking at old photos of the city, with model T Fords and the ladies with the wool skirts and sun hats.