This tree, that now resides at Washington D.C. National Arboretum, survived the bombing of Hiroshima. I wonder, if this is the kind of witness that D.C. prefers, a beautiful one that cannot speak.
This month we saw the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As we sign the deal with Iran, we talk little about how the United States detonated the only atomic bomb thus far -- oh, wait, it detonated TWO!
"Oh, it had to be done to end the war" is the national narrative. "It was terrible but it had to happen," people say.
Really? We unpack and analyze everything everyone else does, but we're not going any deeper on this issue?
Years ago, my mother brought Japanese college students to the Air and Space museum where they stood and cried at the sight of the Enola Gay..the famous plane that "ended the war."
It astonishes me how little we talk about the decision to use this bomb and its impact on the Japanese people...many, many civilians.
I asked my Japanese colleague how the Japanese people talk about the bombing he explained that Japan believed it was more important to align with America after the world and rebuild economically than to talk about the bomb.
I suspect the leaders made that deal, not the people burned to a crisp and the deformed babies born for years to come.
I'm not omniscient, all knowing or all seeing, I do not know whether the bomb was a "must." The Japanese bombed a military base and the United States bombed civilians.
For years, I have just felt unresolved about the dropping of that bomb and have found few places in which to think it through with others. Any conversation I have had on the subject are as short, trimmed, and controlled as this lovely 400 year old bonsai tree...