Obama makes history visiting Hiroshima

Barack Obama on Friday became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, site of the world's first atomic bombing, which killed about 140,000 people by the end of 1945. "We come to ponder the terrible force unleashed in the not so distant past," Obama said after laying a wreath at a Hiroshima peace memorial. "We come to mourn the dead, including over 100,000 Japanese men, women and children, thousands of Koreans and a dozen Americans held prisoner. Their souls speak to us." In the guestbook at the Hiroshima visitors center, he wrote, "We have known the agony of war. Let us now find the courage, together, to spread peace, and pursue a world without nuclear weapons." more »


What presidents say, when they talk about Hiroshima

Most WWII historians have concluded that the established narrative is largely false. President Truman was a fairly peripheral figure, busy with many other pressing matters, like the disposition of Soviet-occupied Europe. There was no White House debate about whether the bomb should be dropped, no singular decision to use it, no suggestion that it was an alternative to invasion. As early as the late nineteen-forties, strong voices had started questioning the wisdom of the Hiroshima attack, and they did not come from the places that we might expect today. more »
Pope John Paul II and an earlier historic visit to Hiroshima

Historian David O'Brien writes about a papal visit to Hiroshima in 1981, and it's relevance to President Obama's visit now. "Hiroshima, and the brutal war it helped end, proved beyond doubt that security must be common or not at all. And, as John Paul said, peace must be desired, thought about, and worked for -- "conscious choice," "deliberate policy" -- or it will be nothing more than words. Nuclear non-proliferation is intimately linked, like it or not, to nuclear abolition, and both depend on finding alternative methods of securing justice. Pope John Paul placed the events of August 1945 in the context of humanity's long history of civil wars: for lovers of humanity all wars are civil. But the pope's historical imagination, better than most, embraced the future as well as the past and present. He used the memory of Hiroshima to raise the question of everyone's historical responsibility: how it all turns out is up to all of us." more »

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Please Read: US Catholic Bishops' "Faithful Citizenship"

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"He gave us strength in time of trouble, wisdom in time of uncertainty, and sharing in time of happiness. He will always be by our side...[May he] be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world. As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:

Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not."

Sen Edward M. Kennedy (1932-2009)

Monday, May 30, 2016

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"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

"On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."

Inaugural Address, President Obama


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