Thursday, August 6, 2015
Amidst the fragrance of blooming cherry blossoms today,
the silence was broken only by the toll of a single temple bell
and the chirping of cicadas in their mid-summer prime.
"Men do less than they ought, unless they do all that they can."
- Thomas Carlyle
The historical context of the necessity of dropping the atomic bomb is lost now in Political Correctness and simply not having been there.
In 2011, I authored a small piece for an anthology whose sales would aid the hurting in Japan from the earthquake and the tsunami.
Here it is:
IT JUST SEEMED THE THING TO DO
The rape had been the best thing to happen to her.
The mother smiled wistfully.
Certainly not the terror, the helplessness, the shame. The nine months of scandalized whispers. The silently accusing eyes. No, they were not good things at all.
Her child's laughter turned her around. She smiled at the phrase "turned her around." That is what Sunshine had done for her.
Turned her around.
Before her daughter, her life had been full of doubt and darkness. Now, it was full of light.
It was why she had named her daughter "Sunshine."
The little girl ran up to her in almost a skip. "Are we really going to the park to feed the pigeons, Mama?"
"Yes, Sunshine, we are."
"Don't you have to go to work at the laundry?"
The mother shook her head. "No. They had to let me go."
"What? But what will you do, Mama?"
The mother mussed Sunshine's gleaming black hair. "I was looking for a job when I found that one, little one. I will find another. I always do."
She tweaked Sunshine's button nose. "Haven't I told you -- we're magic, you and I. We will always find a way to be together."
Sunshine nodded doubtfully. "But the war, Mama ...."
Leading the girl down to the nearly empty street, the mother smiled sadly. "There is always a war, little one. But mothers and their daughters have always managed to find a way."
"Why do we go to the park, Mama?"
"It just seemed the thing to do, Sunshine. It is much too pretty a day to be cooped up like chickens."
And Sunshine giggled, making the old man on the park bench crease his weary face into a sudden smile. The war had given so little to smile over this past year.
Sunshine waved shyly at the old man who just as shyly returned it, making the little girl giggle again.
The mother felt like her heart couldn't hold all the joy and love her little girl gave her. Tears of happiness blurred her vision.
When her vision cleared, she saw Sunshine at their favorite bench.
She was standing stock still like a deer in some magic forest. On her open palm sat a cocked-head pigeon. The mother smiled.
Yes, no doubt about it: her daughter was magic.
As she approached her daughter, the pigeon flew away. Sunshine sighed and took her mother's hand.
"Mama, I know it can't be, but I feel we will always be like this -- holding hands forever."
The mother's face crinkled in a rabbit's smile. "Me, too, little one."
Sunshine pointed up. "Oh, Mama. Is that a plane?"
The mother shielded her eyes and squinted. "I believe you are right, Sunshine. But it is up so high."
The little girl shielded her own eyes and leaned up against the park wall, "I think I see its wings dipping."
There was a sudden flare of bright light.
In September of 1945, Father Johannes Siemus (pronounced "Zee-Mus,")
was sent to the Japanese city of Hiroshima to aid in the post-bomb rescue effort.
He reports seeing the shadows of a mother and child, holding hands, burned into the very brick of the shattered park wall.
In 1958, sculptor Chizuko Hamamoto, donated a statue of a young girl, holding a pigeon, for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.
He named the girl of the statue, Taiyoukou (Sunshine.)
When asked why, he only said, "It just seemed the thing to do."