Atomic Cafe, the 1982 documentary about the bombings as well as the subsequent Cold War propaganda, had a strong effect on me.

The best teacher I ever had was Paul Peca, my sixth grade teacher. He encouraged us to think, create, debate about things in the world. He was a staunch Republican, yet encouraged a mock election in class in which Lyndon Johnson beat Barry Goldwater for President, 13-3.

One of the issues we debated was whether the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945 and the Nagasaki bombing a couple days later were justified. Mr. Peca said yes; it shortened the war. Most of us said no; it was brutalizing, with health effects far beyond the immediate event.

I haven’t really changed my position, and I suspect neither has Mr. Peca, who we loved so much that some of us walked 12 miles roundtrip one day to visit him the next year.
Continue reading “Hiroshima”