Today is the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Nagasaki. The ensuing inferno claimed more than 70,000 lives instantly (or days later due to burns and radiation sickness). Three days earlier another bomb had been detonated over Hiroshima, killing an estimated 140,000 people. Both bombs caused a blinding flash and a fireball hot enough to melt sand into glass and vaporise every human near ground zero. Japan surrendered a week later, thus ending World War II in the Pacific.
The United States has never acceded to demands in Japan for an apology for the loss of innocent lives. This year, for the first time since the bombing, the United States will be represented at the memorial services by its ambassador. Also present for the first time will be the UN Secretary General, as well as representatives of former allies France and Great Britain.
How long does it take for shame to turn into regret . . . brutality into compassion? How am I doing when it comes to acknowledging my own wrong-doings? How am I able to forgive others for their trespasses? What aspects of my heart have become hardened over time, carrying old hurts and fuelling my sense of moral superiority? Is one lifetime sufficient to heal wounds so deep? Or, how does one live whole-heartedly, wounds and all?