Thursday, August 6, 2020

An Anniversary and a Death

Today is the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city of Hiroshima, Japan, by the United States.

August 6, 1945 was a Monday morning.  At the time, Hiroshima had a population of about 300,000.    Here is one eyewitness account.  It is not easy reading.  Those who survived suffered unimaginable mental anguish for the rest of their lives (as did many of those who fought in World War II and all other wars.)

Survivors, most of whom are in their 80's and 90's, are still dying from effects of the bomb.

Years ago, I was able to see the Enola Gay, the airplane from which the bomb had dropped.  It's in a Smithsonian museum in Virginia (one well worth the visit).  Very, very sobering.  There is a memorial each year in Hiroshima, which has been rebuilt, but due to COVID-19, it had to be scaled way back.

It is also worthy to note that a number of the killed and survivors were Korean, forced by the Japanese to work in Hiroshima.

It's estimated that 2/3 of the population of Hiroshima died as a result of the bombing.

Soon, we will commemorate the 75th anniversary of V-J Day (the ending of World War II), with hopes that eventually our human race will find a way to permanent peace. 

And yesterday....

The world of journalism mourns another great:  Pete Hamill, dead at the age of 85.

Anyone who grew up in New York City during the 50's and 60's recognizes the name immediately.

He was the voice of New York, a journalist and novelist who spent part of his life at various New York City area papers - the New York Post, New York Newsday, and the New York Daily News.

One of my childhood memories is of my Dad, leaving for work five days a week.  Before climbing the steps of our elevated subway train station, he would stop at a "sweet shop" and get his New York Daily News.  He would read it on the subway ride from our apartment in the Bronx to his job in lower Manhattan, a commute which, many times, took more than an hour. 

On the way home, he would read the New York Post, which was an afternoon paper.

Then, he'd get home and give me the newspapers.  Back then, you got much of your news from the newspaper, and newspapers provided a lot of my early reading material.  Hamill became a reporter (he didn't want to be called a "journalist") for the Post in 1960 but eventually branched out into magazine article writing, and, later, became a novelist.

Pete worked for New York newspapers (including Newsday, a Long Island paper), New York magazines, and is said to have inspired Robert F. Kennedy to run for President.  Hamill was present when Kennedy was assassinated in 1968.  It is also said that Hamill's memoir inspired Frank McCourt to finish his best selling memoir, Angela's Ashes.

He witnessed the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11.

RIP, Pete Hamill.  You will be missed.


  1. Aware of the Hiroshima anniversary and have DVR'd the documentary on PBS this week. Was not aware of Pete Hamill's death. He was a great journalist whether he liked the title or not. Journalists do much more than report in my opinion.

  2. Every August we revisit Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Never again.

  3. I am similar memories of my father! He road the Greyhound bus from the top of our street to San Francisco, buying a SF Chronicle at the stop to read on the trip into the city, and an Examiner to read on the way home. Then the family got them! On Saturday evenings we would go to the grocery store and buy the Sunday Examiner & Chronicle, which was ONE paper! (all the same as the Sunday edition, unless some breaking news, and most people wanted it for the ads and inserts). The Chronicle had Herb Caen, a SF fixture. Now that I live out of the SF area I understand more what he meant by, "No one refers to San Francisco by that title (Frisco) except people from Los Angeles." It's either San Francisco or The City.

  4. Sometimes I feel like humanity has not advanced over time. The selfish people seem to get ahead. I should not dwell on this because I feel sad already due to the pandemic.

    Stay safe.


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