Hiroshima and Nagasaki: 71 Years Later

Hiroshima and Nagasaki : 71 Years Later

By Siegrid Raible

It is almost 71 years since the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and three days later, August 9th on Nagasaki. In an instant two cities were flattened and hundreds of thousands of men, women and children lost their lives as the result of explosions caused by chain reactions of infinitesimally small unseen particles splitting apart. A crippled Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945 ending the Second World War after seven years of unrelenting warfare (1939 to 1945).

President Obama visited Hiroshima this past week to pay respect to the survivors and the families of the dead. It was a momentous occasion as it marked the first time a sitting American president visited Hiroshima, acknowledged the dead, addressed the need to constrain the proliferation of these horrific weapons and to pray that we never have cause to use them again.

It is interesting to note that the president’s visit coincided with one of our national holidays, Memorial Day. The holiday is more often associated with the unofficial beginning of summer and department store sales than as a day set aside to honor the lives of those men and women who choose to serve our country. It is good to honor our service members but we would best honor them by doing our utmost to keep them out of conflict.

One effective means of keeping the peace is to do exactly what the president did: to pay respect to the lives lost in combat, even those who were once our enemy. Another way is to engage in dialogue with friends and enemies in an effort to avoid conflict and where there are conflicts to engage the enemy in an effort to end the conflicts. Most importantly, we must limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons; no one can claim to feel safe if more states gain access to nuclear weapons.

Let us honor life by engaging in all efforts to end conflict and promote peace.

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