We Have Been Warned

In light of the events of the past week I am re-blogging a post from earlier this year.

April 18, 2017


years ago today Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle took the fight to Japan by leading sixteen B-25 aircraft on a bombing raid over Tokyo. A little over 3 years later, two B-29 aircraft carrying a different kind of bomb flew over Japan days apart and put an end to the war.


years ago today Yosuke Yamahata, a Japanese Army photographer, died of cancer. It was most likely a result of exposure to the radiation that he unknowingly encountered while recording the destruction in Nagasaki following the atomic bomb dropped by the second bomber.

The dates and numbers still resonate with me. They form a mathematical tapestry of history; of points and connections; the comings and goings of people and events woven across Time.

One man dropped the first bombs on Japan. Another man documented the aftermath of the last bomb dropped.

Actions and reactions are set into motion and 24 years later a life is lost.

The first man was 48 years old when he dropped his bombs.

Circles and spirals; Direction and trajectory; Angles at once both acute and obtuse.

The second man was 48 years old when he died.

Is there such a thing as a Master Plan? Can the Believers be correct?

Yosuke Yamahata was born on August 6, 1917. Family and friends had cause for celebration.

Is Life a matter of Destiny or Circumstance?

On August 6, 1945 the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Every generation since has had cause for fear.

Are we on the crisscrossed lines of a grid or are we points on a double-helix?

On April 18, 1942 Jimmy Doolittle led the raid on Tokyo.

Two trains leave two separate stations traveling at different speeds. Their destination lies somewhere in the distance between parallel tracks.

On April 18, 1966 Yosuke Yamahata died of cancer.

Perhaps it is more of a web than a net that entwines our Present selves. A Fourth Dimension through which Time ebbs and flows in a tidal confluence with the Past and the distant shores of our Future.

Is the existence of the watch evidence of the Watchmaker?

Why? is not a spiritual question.

How strong is the message today?

THE INSPIRATION FOR today’s post is the following short story that I wrote as an exercise almost 4 years ago.

I Remember

“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.
—Yosuke Yamahata

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.

Final Thoughts

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 Lt. Colonel 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.

Related links:

  4 comments for “We Have Been Warned

  1. August 14, 2017 at 12:48 PM

    Chilling history and an apt re-visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. August 14, 2017 at 11:36 AM

    Amen brother. A worthy reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

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