Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, August 6, 2010
Many people who did not die right away came down with nausea, headache, diarrhea,
malaise, and fever, which lasted several days. Doctors could not be certain whether
some of these symptoms were the result of radiation or nervous shock.
The doctors realized in retrospect that even though most of these dead had also suffered
from burns and blast effects, they had absorbed enough radiation to kill them. The rays
simply destroyed body cells - caused their nuclei to degenerate and broke their walls.
The first stage had been all over before the doctors even knew they were dealing with a
new sickness; it was the direct reaction to the bombardment of the body, at the moment
when the bomb went off, by neutrons, beta particles, and gamma rays.
The second stage set in ten or fifteen days after the bombing. Its first symptom was falling
hair. Diarrhea and fever, which in some cases went as high as 106, came next.
The third stage was the reaction that came when the body struggled to compensate for its ills –
when, for instance, the white count not only returned to normal but increased to much higher
than normal levels.
What has kept the world safe from the bomb since 1945 has not been deterrence, in the sense
of fear of specific weapons, so much as it's been memory. The memory of what happened at
John Hersey. On this day, 1945, the United States dropped an
atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. 66,000 were instantly killed.
Untold thousands suffered afterwards, and they still do,
Keep two visions in mind. That of Hiroshima. Blinding light. Inestimable power. Blazing light. This is the image of Death.
And that of the “icon” of the Transfiguration of Jesus on the Mount. Blinding light. Inestimable power. Blazing light. This is the image of Life.
Hiroshima happened “out there”. The Transfiguration must happen “in here”.
We choose Death, or Life.