A day forever remembered

Published 1:22 pm Thursday, August 3, 2017

A day forever remembered

by Howard Coop

Some dates are inconsequential, and others are remembered for a short time and forgotten.  But some dates, because of their importance, are forever remembered, and August 6, 1945, is one of those dates.

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Although forgotten by some, it is a day to remember, for it changed the course of human events and, as a result, will be forever indelibly etched upon the pages of human history.

On Monday morning, August 6, 1945, 1:30 a.m., on the Tinian Island, a flight crew, known as “the best of the best,” was preparing for a major mission. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, named the Enola Gay with the number 82 painted on the fuselage, was loaded and Colonel Paul Tibbets, the thirty-year-old pilot who named the plane for his mother, was ready for a twelve-hour round trip flight. At 2:20 a.m., with the four-ton “Little Boy” securely loaded, the crew was ready for “a world-changing mission.”

Almost six hours later, the flight reached Hiroshima, one of Japan’s important cities. The target, the Aioi Bridge, was in plain view.  At 8:15 a.m. the bomb bay door opened, and at 8:15:17, the “Little Boy,” the code name for the first atomic bomb, was released. 

In a moment, there was an explosion that destroyed a city of 350,000 people. At the epicenter of that explosion, the temperature was recorded to have reached 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit, just a little over 28 times the boiling point, and over 70,000 people were dead in seconds. Many others were burned until their skin hung from their bodies, and some bodies were carbonized. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial states that ultimately, the death toll was 200,000.

That horrific event humbled a nation, and Hirohito, the Emperor of Japan who considered himself a god, was forced to surrender unconditionally, bringing an end to World War II. 

Things have changed. The hydrogen bomb, many times more powerful, has replaced the atomic bomb. Those bombs are in the hands of many nations and the world is less safe. Let us pray that leaders of the world have the sanity and the will to protect all of us from their destructive power.