Nagasaki to Los Alamos   2 comments

With this entry, my Asia/Pacific excursion comes to an end. And a very powerful end it is!

Our last stop was in Nagasaki, the site that was devastated by the second dropping of the atomic bomb. Only by chance was Nagasaki destroyed, having been the back-up target when weather prevented hitting the initial choice.

The header tells the first part of the story… the total devastation of what was a prison with people in it. All that was left were those rows of melted and twisted material. Here’s the complete photo.

Remnants of Prison

And here’s a photo of the nearby monument erected over ground zero.

Ground Zero

If that “prison” photo doesn’t send chills and warnings, I don’t know what might. That’s the devastation side of the experience at the Peace Park.

Now for a series of photos illustrating the other side of the story. The peace park is a monument to the desire for non-violent resolutions to conflict. I couldn’t help but be sensitized to the nuances of forgiveness. At no point in the park or the museum, or the words of the tour guide, did anyone say anything like “When the US dropped the bomb.” In all cases it was “When the bomb dropped.” That simple turn of phrase makes it what they want it to be – a lesson to be learned.

The Peace Park is beautiful and peaceful — except for the tourists, that is. I would have loved to go back for a quiet period with no one taking photos of family and friends in front of the various statues. It almost seemed like desecration. But that’s what tourists do, and I’m sure most were also appreciating the potential serenity of the Park with the powerful message of love and peace.

Peace Park

Many countries (if not all) have contributed statues to the park. Here are some that I managed to photograph with no tourists in front of them.

Statue of Children

Peace Park Statue

See-Thru StatueBells in peae park

And finally the visit to the museum, including a wall laying out in a straightforward, factual way  the process of arriving at the decision to use the bomb. Again, the message was clearly couched in “When the bomb dropped,” not, as might have been, “When they dropped the bomb on us.”

Atomic Bomb Museum

I found myself pleased to see Eisenhower’s opinion regarding its use. He was not alone in his opinion.

And now for the bookend. I have no photos to show, but I was at Los Alamos, New Mexico, last week — seeing where it began. A moving experience, in effect wrapping the whole thing up in one emotional package. I won’t bore you with going into a philosophical discussion, but I will say the thoughts and emotions did roil.

This whole experience has only served to strengthen my commitment to restorative practices.

Thanks for joining me on this Asia/Pacific journey.

Posted July 5, 2013 by Mona Gustafson Affinito

2 responses to “Nagasaki to Los Alamos

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  1. @”Nagasaki to Los Alamos” – I’ve been to both places… a face to face dialogue would be quite interesting…
    Thanx for your visits at my blog, I’m really honored. Respectful regards & friendly thoughts, Mélanie
    – – –
    P.S. do yo have Scandinavian(Swedish?) origins, Mona?… have you ever been to your European ancestors’ homeland?… I do believe that origins & roots are extremely important, even though you’ve been American for several generations…

    • How interesting that you ask. I do indeed have Swedish roots, and I have visited Sweden, including my father’s home town with him and my mother a long time ago. But even then he had no surviving relatives in Sweden. The interesting thing, though, is that I am now busy gathering data to write the fictionalized biography of my father who immigrated to America when he was 20. My mother’s parents and older siblings were also immigrants from Sweden. So, the working title of my work is “My Father’s House” and right now I’m doing more information gathering than writing. Among other things I’m becoming quite familiar with Ellis Island, but also greatly helped by the work of my son-in-laws investigations.

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