On August 6, 1989 when the sun’s oblique rays cast long shadows of giant cedars across the railroad tracks leading into Subase Bangor, a Burlington Northern security car parked at the base gate and waited for a shipment to arrive. It was the guard’s duty to ensure safe delivery of missile propellant fuel on this anniversary of the United States’ bombing of Hiroshima. I left my home above the tracks and approached the car with a heavy heart to dialogue with the guard:
Do you realize this is the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima?
No Ma’am, I don’t.
And we wait for a train carrying fuel for more bombs to potentially kill and maim more people?
We had to drop that bomb. It saved hundreds of American soldiers.
And what about the lives of hundreds of Japanese noncombatans? Don’t you think it’s time to let go of the bombs?
They were collateral damage. We need these bombs.
And so it goes. On and on and on…. The train arrived, met by armed marines who opened the gate to escort it to the bunkers. Fuel delivered, the train reversed it’s journey. Out of sight, not out of mind or heart. I knelt on the tracks, lit sage and wept for Hiroshima and for my own collusion. We the bombers are hibakusha as much as the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As long as we make bombs with intent to use, we are a bomb-affected-people.
For Further Reflection