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Old 08-06-2013, 02:19 PM   #1
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68 years ago today

Today, 68 years ago the world was forever changed. The United States used the first nuclear weapon on Hiroshima. Three days later the second and last was used on Nagasaki.
There will always be debate on weather or not the use of these bombs brought the war to an end faster and saved more lives than they took. That is the past. I can not judge my fathers generation. I was not there, I did not see the face of war. They did what they had to, at the time and place that was theirs in history. I am glad that my father was not transferred to the Japanese invasion force because of there use.
Still my heart breaks when I think of the lives that were ended so suddenly and violently and ones that were forever changed.

I wish peace to those that fell and to those that still live with the memory of what happened.

God have mercy on our souls for what we have done......

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Old 08-06-2013, 02:36 PM   #2
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My dad served in the European front from early 1942 until 1944. A lot of folks may not know or forgot that VE day was prior to the ending of the war in Japan. My dad told us that he was returning by ship from Europe with the understanding that after some time off, he and the others were going to be redeployed to fight the war in Japan.

How many of us would not be here today if those troops had been deployed to invade Japan? It's hard to believe that I might not have been here today to write these words.


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Old 08-06-2013, 04:12 PM   #3
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Forgive us ALL

It has only recently been admitted that the U.S. command was concerned with the possibility of mutiny - troops that had already served in Europe for 3 years through campaigns in Africa, Italy, France and Germany WERE being transferred to Asia awaiting the invasion of Japan. Most were pretty well used up (post traumatic stress syndrome in our jargon) and really didn't know how they'd survived those campaigns in Europe.

I was watching a documentary about the decision to use the bomb, and Truman who had been a front line officer in WWI, said that he could not have faced the returning soldiers if he had had to admit that such a weapon existed and and he had chosen NOT to use it. Of the active duty personnel, most never really talked about their reaction to the use of the bomb, but one comment that really struck me from the film went something like... when they told us that the bomb had been dropped and that it would all be over in a matter of days I sat down and felt tears running down my face. It was the first time I realized that I WAS going to live and go home. I'd been walking dead until that moment.

Most of the veterans in our area, including my dad served in Europe. Every one of them who ever saw a death camp wished they'd had the bomb to force Germany to surrender earlier... or simply to obliterate them. Eisenhower did order that every German citizen who lived near a camp be forced to take a walking tour of the camp - so they could never say "it didn't happen" or "stories are exaggerated." Most were violently ill and had nightmares for months.

In the end, the bombs probably saved more lives that they cost - even though the toll was highest among "innocent civilians" - women and children and recovering veterans home on leave.

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Old 08-06-2013, 04:31 PM   #4
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My family has three generations that have served in the US Army -- my Dad (WWII and Korea, retiring after 26 years of service); yours truly (Vietnam, retiring after 20 years of service); my son (West Point, and 5 years of service). So, there is some considerable history in my family....and I can remember as a very small boy hearing my Dad talk about being in Leyte when I was born -- but he would NOT talk about what it was like. Same thing in the 2 plus years he was in Korea from '50-'52. I do know that both he and my Mom felt strongly that IF the two bombs hadn't been dropped, he would have been part of an invasion force destined for the Japanese home islands. After the fanatical and suicidal behavior in Okinawa, where Okinawan's committed suicide rather than be occupied, many historians agree that forces that would have landed in the larger islands of Hokkaido and Honshu would have been a reprise. It may be that the two bombs -- while horrible beyond belief -- could well have prevented even more horrible deaths by our soldiers, sailors, and marines, not to mention Japanese civilians. It is very hard for us to understand fanaticism of the type demonstrated by the Japanese -- kamikaze attacks killed hundreds of sailors -- a one way trip for the Japanese pilots. Then, too, it is difficult for us today to fathom how our parents (or grandparents) felt after Pearl Harbor. I know one thing, a visit to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. and some visuals of WWII veterans visiting there (those who are able), is beyond powerful. I've been. Let's all pray that nothing like this every happens again. But, also, we are very privileged people who live in a very privileged country. Our freedom is NOT free. Since I have three family members buried at Arlington, I go there at least once a year. Those many thousands of gravesites serve as a silent testimony that the ultimate sacrifice costs the most precious thing we have. And, if not in Arlington, any National Cemetery, or one of the US military cemeteries overseas where thousands of our troops rest. And I know that the cemetery near you has veterans who paid this price. As did the parents who lost sons and daughters, wives who lost husbands, husbands who lost wives, and children who may never have known their own parent(s). I think President Truman -- with the information he had at the time -- made the right call.
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:51 PM   #5
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Every time I see this subject, and the question of whether it was "the right thing to do", I have to remind people of what happened to us to bring our country to make the decision to drop those bombs.
Yes, it was "worth it":
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:28 PM   #6
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There is a follow up to this; search pictures of Hiroshema (sp) Japan and Detroit Michigan today and 68 years ago.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:37 PM   #7
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"The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot."

I am very conflicted about nuclear weapons.

It could one day lead to mass scale nuclear war including conflicts with less rational actors. Scary stuff.

Having said that - we need to protect America - what a mess reality is
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:45 PM   #8
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I cannot imagine what I would have done had I been in Truman's shoes. He was told the expected casualties from an invasion of Japan would have been 2,000,000. That number would have made it hard not to order the dropping of the bomb.

There were only 2 bombs at that time and maybe if he had waited a few more days, he wouldn't have to order the 2nd one.

If you've seen The Wolverine, it starts with the bombing of either Hiroshima or Nagasaki (I couldn't tell which; I don't always get what they're saying in movies).

The real tragedies since then are that humans are unable to stop making war and otherwise killing and maiming each other. And, second, we have become a warrior nation and that is changing our national identity and expending much of the national treasure. Third, most countries that has gone this route have ended up badly. Fourth, if you have a large military, you tend to use it.


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Old 08-06-2013, 05:57 PM   #9
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My Dad was a Marine during WWII. Served in the South Pacific.
He was a good man. He passed away 17 years ago. I miss him.
I was always proud to call him DAD. And even more proud to be his son.
I can't imagine what he saw in the war years.
He was a forward observer. Talk about putting it all out there.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:13 PM   #10
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I've read this and one thing I'd like to add. Thank a US Veteran, personally.

Sometimes it means finding that well worn but oh so proudly worn service ball cap and extending a hand and just say thanks. Maybe its buying a Poppy and handing that Veteran a little bit more for what it is a symbol of others that couldn't offer you a Poppy on that special weekend. Maybe its getting a fresh Stars and Stripes for the house or our Airstream and fly it proudly. Maybe its taking a close look at one of the few remaining Military Aircraft of those days and seeing just how vulnerable it seems, thin aluminum skin and no creature comforts. Those ships made so much possible and the crews that did their jobs. I got a look inside the Memphis Belle a few years ago. Got a family scrap book from those days, we do and it is so special and amazing what a bunch of yellowing newspaper clippings can hold. Maybe its holding the door for a young serviceman as he or she takes a quick break at a fast food restaurant on their way to their National Guard weekend.

The list goes on, next time thank an American Serviceman in person. If can make both of your days better.

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Old 08-06-2013, 06:14 PM   #11
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Operaton "X" as it was called, was the invasion of Japan, which was supposed to occur in late 1945 or early 1946. Based on the heavy U.S. losses at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, the projected casualties were 1 million men! My father may have been among them. He was not!

The nuclear weapons were felt necessary to avoid such devastating losses.

The latest statistics suggest that approximately 64 million died in WWII. Unfortunately, the civilian casualties were in excess of 65%, and half were children.

Let us pray for the loss of life and that such an event never recurs...."nieder wieder" ( "never again" in German....posted in the memorial at Dachau.)
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:15 PM   #12
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I am about as hippy/pinko/treehugger as they come, and proud of it, but even I think that the use of the atomic bomb was the lesser of two evils. Those who had to make this decision truly found themselves in a moral dilemma of such magnitude I can't even imagine how they must have felt. Those who died gave their lives so that I today can live in freedom, and express my opinions, without fear and for that I am deeply thankful.

It ended a war that otherwise would have dragged on until the last street in the last city on the last island of Japan would have been won with the blood of allied troops. The casualties would have been huge, both on our side and for the Japanese.

I like Pharmgeek's post above - thanks for posting it. If you look at the earth from space, our squabbles about religion and power do indeed become ridiculous.
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:31 PM   #13
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Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I had to get my thoughts out there for the world to see.

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