Nagasaki Plus One Month 1945

This rare photo of the Hiroshima mushroom cloud was taken on August 6, 1945. The Hiroshima bombing claimed approximately 120,000 lives and the subsequent leveling of Nagasaki annihilated 80,000. The US military strategists have long held that these two attacks saved over a million US troops by forcing the Japanese Empire to surrender to the Allies.

Over the years the various atomic powers have conducted nearly 2000 explosions.

Only two were on populated targets; Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

During my youth Uncle Russ told his nieces and nephews that he had been ready to parachute into Japan, when a flash appeared over the enemy’s home island. The airborne troops watched the mushroom cloud consume Hiroshima. The pilot returned to base.

That how the story stood for years.

My brothers and sisters knew it wasn’t true, but we loved our affable uncle’s story and the idea of his being poised to invade Japan by air. I thought he was a hero.

The truth took its time coming and last year on Watchic Pond my uncle explained that after the Armistice he had been stationed to Nagasaki. It had been bombed three days after Hiroshima with the same result.

“One day a B-29 bomber caught fire in flight. Nine parachutes appeared in the sky. The bomber lose altitude and crashed into a nearby mountain. We searched for the four officers left on the plane. The aluminum fuselage had been melted by the fire. The only human remains we found was a half a skull. One of the sergeants said that the B-29 normally carried a crew of 11. Two more survivors should have floated to safety. No one ever heard any more of that story.”

Uncle Russ paused for a long moment.

“We headed into the city. “Everything was gone. Sometimes you’d see someone wandering in the streets, but there was nothing there and I saw shadows on the walls. They used to be people. I was 19 years old.”

Uncle Russ never said more about those wasted cities.

People from wars rarely tell stories.

At least ones that are true.

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