Last updated on April 4, 2021
even though being moved to the point of tears is not uncommon for me nowadays.
I first read John Hershey’s writing about Hiroshima while in high school, from which I graduated in June of 1963.
By then I had read widely about the 2nd World War. As a result I knew that Truman’s threat of an unremitting series of nuclear bombs was somewhat of a bluff: we had only the two, and if Japan had not surrendered after Nagasaki (the historically Christian center in Japan due to the Portuguese) we did not then have additional bombs, and the hundreds of thousands killed and maimed and poisoned by radiation would have been for nought — we would still have had to invade the home islands in Japan at a cost of millions of casualties, both American and Japanese.
I grew up in a time of “duck and cover” drills, as if hiding under a desk would somehow have protected us from the blast and the radiation of a nuclear explosion. I lived through the October 1962 missile crisis where our confrontation with the USSR over their missiles in Cuba meant for several nights it was hard to go to sleep, not knowing if — being less than 20 miles straight line distance from Times Square — we might be incinerated in a nuclear blast while we slept.
Perhaps it is not just my advancing years, and what I have lived through. Perhaps it is more than what I have experienced and learned during my more than 7 decades. Perhaps it may be so many things that can trigger — almost like someone with PTSD from a combat situation, something I have fortunately not experienced, although in course I am taking this summer something I have had to see through the eyes of others, in their words, in movies, even in music.
And yes, the overlapping crises of Covid and the protests and related since the murder of George Floyd are part of it. I listen at the end of the shows run by Nicolle Wallace commemorating those lost to the pandemic and I want to weep. I see the out of control use of force by authorities and I am angry, and I want to weep. I look forward to and attempt to plan for a school year where I may never be in a classroom with my students and I want to weep.
And I confront the threat that Covid represents to my immuno-compromised spouse and myself, how it has radically altered our lives, how it creates at least for her palpable fears, and I want to weep.
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