Growing Up in the Midwest


First Day in My History

“A woman who was a schoolgirl at Hiroshima asked, ‘Those scientists who invented the atomic bomb, what did they think would happen if they dropped it?’” Jonathan Glover

We can say one thing for certain. We begin this life with absolutely no idea of the path it will take and where it will end. Every day life brings surprises. And every good and bad decision, both our and other’s, impact our future, the people we know, and our families. I was born on July 16, 1945; the day the first atomic bomb was successfully tested in Arizona. That is one of the worse birth mark a person can have. I had nothing to do with this but it raised the issue of danger and fear that would never be resolved globally. The test was conducted by the United States Army as the consummation of the Manhattan Project in the Jornada del Muerto (Journey of Death) desert about 35 miles (56 km) southeast of Socorro, New Mexico, at the new White Sands Proving Ground.

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The development of the atomic bomb significantly hastened the end of World War II, while at the same time killing thousands of innocent Japanese citizens. The spin placed on the development of a bomb “supposedly” to end a war unfortunately initiated the potential devastation of the planet through a nuclear holocaust. I don’t remember anything about those events until as a child we were taught in the 50s about “duck and cover” in the case of a nuclear event. Teachers instructed us to hide under our desks and cover our heads. That was a lack of common sense placebo to placate a fear of an event. We sometimes hid under a desk with a girlfriend. Those practice sessions were fun and reaped unintended benefits.

In retrospect, I don’t think I spent an inordinate amount of thought about the problems related to atomic energy until I began to travel to Japan frequently and formed a lot of friendships with Japanese Christians. Most of them were pacifists. I was humbled when I learned one of my good Japanese friends had lost her father during the explosion in Hiroshima. She was robbed of her father through no fault of his or her own. Such is the hellish results of war. It is impossible to sort out cause and effect, guilt and fault, why or why not, or the implications of actions taken. The sin of misappropriated power always leads to devastating results.

I believe that God has intervened in my lifetime in a variety of ways to avoid a nuclear tragedy greater than we can imagine. I pray God will continue to control the reins of a current host of people who seem to rule more by power than prudence.

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