Current social events: August 6th is the Anniversary of Hiroshima Bombing

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The rain of ruin, the atomic bomb, brought in a new era for moral values in society.

August 6, 2007 will mark 62 years since the dropping of an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945. Many people including the pilot of the Enola Gay, Paul Tibbets, believed that his mission would bring an end to the war with Japan. The 20-year-old colonel had named the B-29 Superfortress after his mother. Little did he know that the victims would number over 230,000. The dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and on Nagasaki three days later marked the beginning of the Nuclear Age, a new era insofar as moral values in society are concerned.

The official Web site of the annual Peace Memorial Ceremony for Hiroshima sets aside August 6 "to console the souls of those who were lost due to the atomic bombing as well as pray for the realization of everlasting world peace." The Peace Declaration, which is delivered by the Mayor of Hiroshima during the ceremony, is sent to every country in the world thus conveying Hiroshima's wish for the abolition of nuclear weapons and the realization of eternal world peace.

At exactly 8:15 a.m., the time the atomic bomb was dropped, the Peace Bell is rung, sirens sound all over the city and for one minute people at the ceremony grounds, in households and in workplaces pay silent tribute to the victims of the atomic bombing and pray for the realization of everlasting world peace.

In a compelling article focusing on the moral ethics of such social issues as Hiroshima the writer, Donald R. Hornsby, describes both sides of this historical event. For those in Hiroshima who survived the "rain of ruin," it was the closest thing to a living nightmare that they could have imagined. In addition to this human nightmare, the bomb damaged or destroyed nearly 70,000 of Hiroshima's 76,000 buildings.

In 1939 military intelligence uncovered the fact that Nazi Germany was nearing completion of a weapon using nuclear fission. By 1941 the United States had entered an unprecedented race to develop a nuclear weapon. This effort was known as the Manhattan Project. When U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt died in April 1945, American, British and Canadian scientists and specialists were determined, as were the nations of the Allied Forces, to find a solution towards a rapid end to the war.

Harry Truman made the final decision to deploy the bomb over Japan: a course of action that has been the subject of moral debate throughout the 62 years since.

Leo Szilard, one of the scientists who encouraged the development of atomic power in 1939 and who subsequently became the project's chief physicist, developed such misgivings as the research progressed that he drafted a formal petition to the U.S. president signed by 69 fellow scientists warning of the bomb's potential consequences. On July 17, 1945 they requested that the petition be delivered to Truman, though whether the president received it before August 6 is also debated.

"I remind you that if Hiroshima is ever repeated, it will mark the end of the human race. I pray that the future generation will look deeply into the meaning of Hiroshima and strive to build a world free of nuclear weapons," said Yoshitaka Kawamoto, one of the few survivors, in another article In His Own Words, written by publisher David Hulme.

Sixty years after the explosion over Hiroshima, one thoughtful man reminded us that "we have to learn to think in a new way." In a May 17, 2005 New York Times op-ed piece, 97-year-old Nobel prize winner Joseph Rotblat, the only scientist to have resigned from the Manhattan Project on moral grounds, referred to the Russell-Einstein Manifesto of 1955. Rotblat and 10 other scientists signed that manifesto against nuclear war, which was Albert Einstein's last public undertaking just before his death, to restore moral values in society.. Einstein, like Rotblat, chose repeatedly to warn against the human folly of nuclear development for aggressive purposes.

The emperor of Japan had led his nation into a costly war that resulted in the deaths of thousands and the complete destruction of two cities. He uttered one wish for his country: "Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation." Since 1947, Japan has set aside August 6 as a current social event, a time to focus on the vision of obtaining peace for all generations.

In a prophecy delivered just before His death, Jesus of Nazareth spoke of a time of great trouble such as the world has never seen, and said that "unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved" (Matthew 24:22).

Taken together with other prophetic statements that seem to describe the effects of future horrendous weapons (see Revelation 9), what happened to two cities in Japan will be only the beginning of sorrows.

Today as the world wrestles with the legacy of Hiroshima, there are fears that rogue nations may unleash the nuclear genie from the bottle one more time.


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Edwin Stepp
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