“Freestyle memory. Write I remember at the top of your post, hit start on the timer, and write about the first memory that comes to mind. Ten minutes. Don’t stop…. If ten minutes seems too short, go for 15 or 20 minutes. You can shape this challenge to suit you.” —WordPress Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge
Today is August 6, 2013 and the 68th anniversary of dropping the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima. My strongest memory today is from August 9, 1995—the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki.
I was working a show job at Moscone Center in San Francisco and when I awoke that morning the news was full of stories about Nagasaki and Jerry Garcia. Jerry died of a heart attack that morning in a West Marin Rehab center, just 8 days after his 53rd birthday.
The worst was when electric and telephone wires got twisted around people’s legs and they couldn’t escape…and they died in that position, fallen to their knees.
Across the street from the convention center is the Ansel Adams Gallery and they had a photo exhibit of Yosuke Yamahata, a young Japanese Army photographer who went to Nagasaki the day after the bombing and documented the devastation.
I was working the afternoon shift, so I got to town early and went to the Adams Gallery before work. The experience was haunting. I looked at the photos and tried to put myself in his shoes, but I could not make the leap from my reality to his.
The black and white photographs were as technically perfect as the photographs of Ansel Adam’s and Yamahata’s message was loud and clear: We can’t have the pristine wilderness evoked in Adam’s images if we are going to pursue Nuclear Annihilation.
Yosuke Yamahata was born on August 6, 1917—28 years to the day that Hiroshima was bombed. He died on April 18, 1966—24 years to the day that General Jimmy Doolittle led the bombing raid on Tokyo.
If the statement that “There are no coincidences in life” is true, then Yosuke Yamahata was the right man, at the right time, to preserve History for Mankind. That act alone, probably cost him his life. Yamahata was diagnosed with terminal cancer in his duodenum, most likely caused from radiation exposure in Nagasaki.
We live and we die.
We live and we learn (if we are lucky).
We remember the past and vow to make a better future.
- Yosuke Yamahata on Wikipedia
- Remembering Nagasaki
- The U.S.S. Indianapolis: A Date With History
- Thoughts in Passing
- The Doolittle Tokyo Raiders
- Through the Smoke, Into the Breeze — Another blogger found me after he wrote this post.
- A Close Call During Wartime
- The Monster Atomic Bomb That Was Too Big to Use