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

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