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Marking Hiroshima Anniversary
A Brief Reflection on History
As we gather together to mark the anniversary of Hiroshima, it is appropriate that we take a moment to review the historical record. History records Franklin Roosevelt as famously saying that December 7, 1941 was a “date that will live in infamy” Had he only lived long enough to witness the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, he may have reconsidered that statement. Had he lived a bit longer, the total annihilation of Nagasaki might have rendered him entirely unable to fully express himself.
Robert Oppenheimer, upon realizing the full destructive power of the device he helped create, could only express the depth of his sadness and shame in Hindu verse when he said “now I have become death, the destroyer of worlds” Would Dr. Oppenheimer, had he lived to see the proliferation of nuclear weapons throughout the world, have chosen the same words today? I think that both men, giants in their times, would have been moved to reconsider their statements and perhaps even may have joined together to offer more sage advice to the world community.
History speaks to all of us. And whether by actions or words we speak to and become part of it. And so, as we mark a date that has in great measure defined our past, what do we do and say to shape the events that will determine our future? Whatever we decide to say I think Roosevelt and Oppenheimer might agree with us that the first two words must be “Never Again!”