The Japanese man told me he came out of his basement, looked around and everything had changed. He recognized nothing of the city, his city. That city was Nagasaki. It was August,1945.
He was a young boy then and sleeping that night in the basement probably saved him because his home was relatively close to ground zero – that area that was the specific target of America’s second use of a nuclear device against an enemy. The first had come only days before in Hiroshima. The combination of the two ended the war. Japan was in ruins and it is again.
That Japanese boy noticed that after awhile large numbers of people were getting sick from some mysterious aftermath of the bombing. It took some time for their doctors to identify it as radiation sickness. And it’s a nightmare again. He grew up healthy and became a member of the Nagasaki city council – but he never forgot the devastation. Neither will the people of Japan today.
But before you sit back and relax in the security that you don’t live in Japan or California or Alaska the worst earthquake ever in the continental U.S. was a 7.9 – in Missouri.