As the world marks the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan what have we learned?
[Darris McNeely] This week marks the seventieth anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. And then a few days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. And together, they brought to an end the Pacific War in World War II, and it was a momentous event. Seventy years on is quite a step in one sense, and there was a gathering in Hiroshima marking this very tragic event, and also one that has been debated and discussed during this entire seventy-year period.
The debate goes on: should the United States have dropped that bomb? What if they had not? How much longer would the war have drawn on? How many more lives would have been cost because the Allies led by America were planning to invade the Japanese mainland to bring an end to the Pacific War? It’s interesting in reading about all of the different reactions to this seventieth anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb, and the reactions that have been there. One series of articles brought out the fact that there were two kinds of people who cried on that day. The first were American GIs, American soldiers – when they heard that the bomb had been dropped, they knew that they would not be invading Japan, and they knew that they would likely live, survive the war, and go home to their families. They cried when they heard that because everyone knew what was coming, and they also knew that it would involve a big loss of life.
There was a second group of people who cried on that day. It was the victims of the blast. People did survive the initial blast, and as they were running and staggering through the streets, they were crying out for water. And when people who came upon them gave them water, they cried, and then they died. It was a different reaction. It was a tremendous loss of life. Fortunately, since that time, there’s not been another bomb, an atomic bomb, dropped on any nation in a time of war.
We’ve gone through the period of the Cold War, with the confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States, and even today we have the prospect of nuclear war still hanging over us. As I speak here, the idea of a treaty being signed between Western powers and the nation of Iran to at least halt Iran’s desire to produce a nuclear weapon and the catastrophic consequences that many fear could result of that particular Middle Eastern nation having a nuclear weapon, has been in a sense possibly put on hold. But the point is this: the threat of a nuclear war, of another bomb being dropped somewhere by design or even by accident, is still very real. We have not yet come to the point in our world where all the swords have been beaten into plowshares, as the prophet Isaiah said they would be, in a time yet future.
As we think about the seventieth anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb in Japan, that particular scripture still lingers out there as a hope for the future (Isaiah 2:4 Isaiah 2:4And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
American King James Version×). Let’s keep that in mind, and let’s pray, “Thy kingdom come”.
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