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6.8.05

Mea maxima culpa

Today is a day for all of us who live in countries with nuclear arsenals to pause for a moment. Sixty years ago, the United States used the most devastating weapon ever created on a small town in Japan, Hiroshima. People have lots of different opinions about President Truman's decision. My grandfather was with the Air Force in the Pacific at the end of World War II, and I am on one hand glad that, for whatever reason, he did not have to take part in a land assault against Japan. On the other hand, I am not proud to be part of the entity that pulled that particular trigger. Armies do terrible things in wars, and we should do all we can to stop them from happening. I recommend reading an article (Thousands pray for fallen, August 6) by George Nishiyama for The Age (Australia), although it is now asking for a membership. It presented two very different reactions to the anniversary today, one in Japan and the other in deep America. When I was an undergraduate, I worked in the summer in a small town in northern Michigan that still celebrated V-J Day with a parade. That, I'm fairly sure, is not the proper mode of commemoration. (I believe that the town now has its Humungous Fungus Fest at this time of year, too, but I think there is still a V-J Day parade.)

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