Thursday, August 9, 2012

Truman's grandson visits Hiroshima

I missed the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima three days ago (today is the 67th anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing), but this year's news surrounding the commemorations include a visit to the Peace Park by the grandson of Harry S Truman, the US president who authorized the unprecedented attacks on those two cities, a move credited with ending World War II in the Pacific.

From the Washington Post:
Truman’s grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel, and the grandson of a radar operator who was on both of the planes that dropped the atomic bombs, joined in the memorial. Ari Beser’s grandfather, Jacob Beser, was the only person who directly took part in both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

In a news conference after the memorial, Daniel declined to comment on whether his grandfather’s decision was the right one.

“I’m two generations down the line. It’s now my responsibility to do all I can to make sure we never use nuclear weapons again,” he said, according to Japan’s Kyodo news service.

Daniel, 55, said earlier that he decided to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki because he needed to know the consequences of his grandfather’s decision as part of his own efforts to help achieve a nuclear-free world.

The U.S. government sent a representative — the American ambassador — to the annual commemoration for the first time two years ago. Ambassador John Roos attended the Hiroshima ceremony on Monday.

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said Japan must take a bolder role in leading global disarmament efforts and called on world leaders to come to his city to “contemplate peace.”

He also said the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant struck by a tsunami last year has shown the dangers of nuclear technology, even for peaceful purposes, and urged the government to create a mix of energy sources for Japan that is safe and secure.
While we're at it, I'll (re-)skewer the old chestnut that Koreans thought two atomic bombs were not enough. South Koreans are keenly aware that a large portion of those killed in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were Koreans working there (many of them forcibly so). You can read about one unlucky group here.

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