Saturday, August 6, 2016

A date in remember

On August 6, 1945, the United States changed the history of the world.  They dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. While this marked the beginning of the ending of WWII, it also was the beginning of a different that has the entire world fearing an atomic weapon war.  While it seems like this was so long ago, the picture above was NOT taken off of the internet.  It actually belongs to my family.  It was taken on September 16, 1945 in Hiroshima by Ken's father.  We actually have a series of these photos scanned and preserved in our photo library.  Ken's dad was on a recon mission in Japan with the Navy.  He went on this "shore excursion" with several of the other officers from the ship and he took these photos.  It wasn't until the very last years of his life that he talked much about his time there.  It had a very big impact on him.  I remember his getting quite teary eyed when he pointed out the man next to the wall in this picture.  He said that they saw hardly any civilians during the entire time they drove through the city.  Little did these officers know that they were most likely exposed to dangerous radiation during this tour.

It's hard to wrap your head around the fact that someone you know - personally - walked in this place.  It's one thing to read about this in history books, its quite another to think about actually experiencing it.  As we get further and further removed from these events - as the years go by - it is good to stop and take stock and remember exactly what happened.  Once again I am extremely thankful for photographs.  My children and grandchildren will ALWAYS have these photos to remember and reflect.  It is pictures like this that make me even more dedicated to scrapbooking and the preservation of not only the photos, but also words that explain each picture.

When Ken's mom died in 2009, we helped to clean out his parents home and prepare his dad for a move to Florida.  During that process, I got possession of several old photo albums with pictures going back in to the very early 1900's.  The problem with these albums is that nothing is marked!  Ken's dad had no idea who these pictures were of.  The albums had belonged to Ken's maternal grandmother Baker and maternal great grandmother Kelly.  With his mom gone, there was no one to even guess who these people might be.  I can't bring myself to get rid of these pictures.  For now they are stored in a plastic box.  When I see that box, I am determined to write on the back of every photo I have that is not in an album!  I want to make sure that there are names, dates and events so that, in the future, someone can identify that shot!

Yesterday was the opening ceremony for the 2016 Olympics.  There has been much in the news about possible terror threats and dangers to all who are gathered to watch these competitions with athletes from all over the world.  The Olympics represent a time of unity......a gathering of countries not in war but in peace.  Yet the threat is real.  All over the world, evil is at work.  Daily people are losing their lives in senseless attacks.  The difference is that individuals are the weapons now - suicide bombers.  Unlike Hiroshima where a government acted during a time of war, today one person can destroy the world for hundreds or even thousands.  This threat hit all of us in the United States on September 11, 2001 when our world was rocked by terrorists.

BUT JESUS!   With Jesus, we will not give into the fear of terrorists.  For when we do, they have won.  With Jesus we can rest in the peace that passes understanding, knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.  We can love our enemy and pray for those who persecute us.  We can show mercy to those who don't have any mercy for us, because of Jesus. We can rest knowing that Jesus is the King of King and Lord of Lords and He reigns over ALL!  

Yes, it is good to be able to remember what happened 71 years ago. But I am also thankful that I can turn on my television and watch cheering crowds celebrate the athletes from around the world.
I will celebrate the first United States Gold Medal won on day 1 of the Olympics!  Go team USA! And I will pray for the safety of all of Rio during this busy time as well as all the visitors.  Yes, I will be praying that Jesus will be lifted up during these games and that the love and mercy and grace of God will be showered over the entire event!  

Today in Hiroshima, 71 years later, paper lanterns were set afloat during the peace celebration.  
Words of remembrance and peace were written on them by people from all over the world.   I am going to end my blog with words from the Huffington Post that ran today.....
Keiko Ogura, a small Japanese woman with cropped black hair, trots down the hallway of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in bronze heels with an agility that belies her age. Keiko was only eight years old when her world was upended in a flash of light. When she regained consciousness, the first thing she noticed was the flatness. The buildings that had once dotted the horizon were gone, as if a giant hammer had descended from the sky.
An eerie parade of waifs emerged from the wreckage, streaming past Keiko towards the first aid station located in the Shinto shrine on a nearby hill. “Clothes were tattered and shrunk or hanging down, and their skin… their skin was peeling off, just peeling off and showing red wet flesh,” she remembered. They weren’t saying a word. So quietly they were coming, more and more.”
Seventy-one years later, Keiko is a fixture at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial museum, one of the hibakusha—the survivors of the atomic bombing—who have helped guide the post-war identity of the city that gave birth to the nuclear age.
When Keiko visited the United States 12 years ago, she dissolved into tears in the Smithsonian, transfixed with terror at the sight of static B-29 bombers suspended from the ceiling of the Air and Space museum. But she makes it clear that it is not the Americans she blames. Keiko considers war—especially nuclear war—to be an unacceptable evil. It is this universal and unequivocal message that she and many other hibakusha hope to communicate by repeatedly reliving a horror beyond most of our imaginations.
Today, the average hibakusha is over 80 years old. Soon there will be no more survivors to tell their stories. For seventy-one years, Hiroshima’s call for peace and nuclear disarmament has been simultaneously embraced and undermined by the actions of Japanese leadership. And at a moment when the appeal is perhaps more important than ever, Hiroshima finds itself at ideological odds with the Japanese government.
Nuclear weapons are often described as an “existential threat,” but beneath the A-Bomb Dome, that threat casts a concrete shadow. It is this solidity that Keiko and others hope might spur change.
In 1987, recently deceased Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel made a trip to Hiroshima. At the end of his visit, he penned a few lines in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum guest book: “We shall remember. We must remember. For only in memory is there some hope for us all.”

Jesus, help us all to remember.  And in that remembering, keep us in your tender embrace.  Holy Spirit bathe us in the peace that passes understanding and the wisdom to know that Jesus reigns over all the evil in the world.  Give us courage and grace to walk out into our neighborhoods without fear.  Thank you for pictures that speak to us when words fail.   Amen

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