HIBAKUSHA: Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 1945—August 2015)



(August 1945——–August 2015)

Seventy Years After the A Bomb!

The “hibakusha” are the surviving victims of the atomic bombs which fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.(August 1945) While these individuals survived the immediate effects of the blasts, the hibakusha have suffered from the effects of radiation sickness, loss of family and friends, and discrimination.

Many hibakusha share their personal tragedies and are dedicated to promote peace and to create a world free of nuclear weapons.

I was 18 years old, in military service, at Corona Naval Hospital, CA. when the press release announced the first A Bomb destroyed Hiroshima. This was startling news for the World War II community, and was met with different points of view: “Great, that’s what the Japs’ deserve!” “Oh, those poor innocent civilians!”(Several thousands Japanese soldiers were in Hiroshima at a barracks, all were killed.) Several days later, the second A Bomb fell, this on Nagasaki, and a week later Japan surrended unconditionally to the United States. The war, that killed and maimed hundreds of thousands, was over.

Time to move on. And we did, as the American dream was at that time very much alive (not like now), and we started to turn tanks into new cars, refrigerators, washing machines and all that became the late ’40s and ’50s pile of “stuff” that filled new housing, that sprung up on the praries of Nebraska and valleys of California. In the East on Long Island, Levitt Brothers built tens of thousands of homes: planned communities in the potato fields of Long Island.

I was discharged from the service in California, getting by for one year on the “52/20 club”. I returned to the family home in Queens. After a few months in a dull job, I managed, as thousands did, to get awarded the benefits of the GI Bill and off I went to newly established Champlain College, from there to New York University.

I lived well, the war brought to the “Greatest Generation” prosperity; the Hibakusha, who might dare face a mirror, saw only terrible scars and radiaton sickness. Now: Seventy years, we move on! Remembering, hopefully: no more wars!

Copyright Salazar 2015