The continuing impact of Covid-19 is so all consuming that we find little time to think about anything else, understandably so. But from time to time it does us good to have our attention drawn to other matters. This week, on August 6th, we will be remembering that 75 years ago, an atomic bomb was detonated over Hiroshima in Japan, followed on August 9th by a second device over Nagasaki. Upwards of 200,000 people perished in the immediate aftermath, whilst the impact of radiation sickness on future generations resulted in many more deaths. Even today there are those who bear in their bodies the effects of what happened. As with everything in war, there is a moral ambiguity. If the conflict had continued using only ‘conventional weaponry’ it may have gone on much longer. And the Emperor of Japan’s insistence that his country would fight until the very last drop of the blood had been spilt meant it was likely that the casualty figures would be catastrophic. Instead, Japan surrendered on August 15th, with a formal signing on September 2nd., 1945. WW2 was ended. And we must acknowledge that for many whose fathers and husbands fought in the Far East and who suffered terrible treatment as POWs, it is very difficult to find any sympathy, leave alone forgiveness for their captors. For them, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were no more than they deserved. The aircraft that dropped the bomb over Hiroshima was piloted by Col. Paul Tibbetts and named ‘Enola Gay’ after his mother, Enola Gay Tibbetts. In 1980, the pop group, ‘Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’, had a hit with an anti-war song of the same title, ‘Enola Gay’
‘…Enola Gay, you should have stayed at home yesterday
Aha, words can’t describe the feeling and the way you lied
These games you play, they’re gonna end it more than tears someday
Aha, Enola Gay, it shouldn’t ever have to end this way
It’s 8:15, and that’s the time that it’s always been
We got your message on the radio, conditions normal & you’re coming home
Enola Gay, is mother proud of little boy today?
Aha, this kiss you give, it’s never ever gonna fade away
Enola Gay, it shouldn’t ever have to end this way
Aha, Enola Gay, it shouldn’t fade in our dreams away…’
…Since that fateful few days in 1945, the world has lived in thrall at the prospect of the prospect of such weapons being used again. Ironically, they never have been. Perhaps to be reminded of what happened then continues to prove to be a sufficient deterrent. Anyway, the least we can do this week, is find time to pray for the people of Hiroshima & Nagasaki, and for peace in the world, however fragile & uncertain that peace might be.