Yesterday, Aug. 6, marked 75 years since the United States dropped what was clearly the most harrowing weapon ever created. The atomic bomb that fell on Hiroshima unleashed instant death, destruction and devastation. Three days later, the city of Nagasaki was likewise annihilated by the deployment of a second atomic bomb — and the world’s last.
Arthur Cyr, a professor of history at Carthage College, noted, “An estimated 130,000 people perished from the Hiroshima bombing, approximately half during the explosion, most of the rest soon thereafter.
“The comparable estimate for Nagasaki is 80,000 people. Victims of these terrible weapons continued to die because of radiation and other lingering aftereffects.”
In 2016, President Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the city. In his remarks on the occasion, he asked, “Why do we come to this place, to Hiroshima?”
Then answered, “We come to ponder a terrible force unleashed in a not-so-distant past. We come to mourn the dead. … Their souls speak to us. They ask us to look inward, to take stock of who we are and what we might become.”