In the Shadow of War and Death

Yesterday I went to Nagasaki, the second U.S. target chosen for destruction by the atom bomb. As it had at Hiroshima just days before, on August 9th 1945, at 11:02am, an atom bomb explosion over Nagasaki created a magnitude of death and suffering too horrid to imagine. I went with my girlfriend Yoko to the exact spot where 500 meters in the air, the bomb had exploded about 65 years ago and decimated the city and the lives of its inhabitants.

After visiting the most disturbing parts of the museum, mainly stories from survivors of that day, the sadness of reflection had passed and the earnestness of our thoughts and manner had shifted to the moment. Nagasaki had been rebuilt, and though nothing would change what had happened there, though nothing could make it right, there was hope in the moment. Hope was present in knowing that our union itself was some proof of progress and that globalization had, in some small way, given credit to the idea that true peace might be achieved someday. As it has been written many times on the countless plaques that surround the memory of that day, I reflected upon the hope that such a tragedy would never again be repeated, and so I wrote these words:

     We were two souls, whose path to love 65 years prior would have been separated by the caustic sting of politics and a heat flash hot enough to melt skin from bone. Running toward the exact spot where the bomb had exploded, the hypocenter marked by a tall black beam of marble, I imagined her skin melting away in agony as she slipped effortlessly through my fingers. I saw her crumble before my eyes, my body running desperately ahead, trying to drag her to safety; but it was no use. She was gone and I was alone. She would have been dead; and I, the American, having been ignorant to her suffering, would never have known the love I do now and how much I would have done to try and save her. Yet, here we were together, running and laughing under the same sky where the shadow of war and the pain of tragedy had demanded a call to peace.

We must work toward peace. In the presence of nuclear weapons and the implications they incite, there can be no solace; there can be no salvation. May the tragedy of nuclear war never be repeated on this earth again.

Matthew Rosario

American / Writer / Musician