Remembering Hiroshima ... forever.
"At first, without electricity or radio, we were cut off from the rest of the world. The following day cars and trains began arriving from Tokyo and Osaka with help for Hiroshima. They stayed in the outskirts of the city, and when we questioned them as to what had happened, they answered very mysteriously: “The first atomic bomb has exploded.”
“But what is the atomic bomb?”
They would answer: “The atom bomb is a terrible thing.”
“We have seen how terrible it is, but what is it?”
And they would repeat: “It’s the atomic bomb…the atomic bomb.”
They knew nothing but the name. It was a new word that was coming for the first time into the vocabulary. Besides, the knowledge that it was the atomic bomb that had exploded was no help to us at all from a medical standpoint, as no one in the world knew its full effects on the human organism. We were, in effect, the first guinea pigs in such experimentation.
But from a missionary standpoint, they did challenge us when they said: “Do not enter the city because there is a gas in the air that kills for seventy years.” It is at such times that one feels most a priest, when one knows that in the city there are 50,000 bodies which, unless they are cremated, will cause a terrible plague. There were besides 120,000 wounded to care for. In light of these facts, a priest cannot remain outside the city just to preserve his life. Of course, when one is told that in the city there is a gas that kills, one must be very determined to ignore that fact and go in. And we did." - Pedro Arrupe S.J., From a talk given in 1950
Blessed Paul VI died on this day in 1978 as well.