Monday, August 22, 2011

A TIME reporter visited Nagasaki 3.5 years after the Bomb, here is his report

If you ever doubt the human spirit or our ability to overcome then doubt no more. The citizens of Nagasaki provide ample inspiration. They not only carried on, they thrived after a horrific event. Here are pictures of present day Nagasaki.

The second A-bomb used in war, much less publicized but far more powerful than the first bomb dropped on Hiroshima, fell on Nagasaki (pop. 250,000). Last week, 3½ years after the city's fiery ordeal, TIME Correspondent Sam Welles paid it a visit. His report:

Nagasaki is surprisingly full of smiles and surprisingly empty of hate. The A-bomb epicenter is a small park of less than an acre around a low, earthen mound topped by a plain wooden shaft. Seven young arborvitae trees circle the mound. A sign in English and Japanese states that 18,409 homes were destroyed, 29,739 people killed and 91,081 injured when a compact mass of plutonium "exploded in the air just above here" on Aug. 9, 1945.

Mixed Feelings. Of many new houses near the park, the closest belongs to straggle-bearded Akira Yamamoto, 37, a sewing-machine merchant whose back stoop is only 80 feet from the shaft. During the war Yamamoto worked in a munitions plant ten miles away, while his wife and older children were in the country, but his parents lived in the target area and were killed.