By Pamela Alma Weymouth, Truthdig, 8/8/15
In 1950, my grandfather, Ralph Weymouth—a decorated World War II naval aviator who would become a vice admiral—stood inside the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, viewing for the first time the human cost of the atom bomb. He saw a child’s charred lunchbox, a helmet with the remains of a victim’s skull still stuck to the interior, a clock frozen at 11:02, and the one thing he’ll never forget: “fingers on a human hand ossified in glass.”
Last week my grandfather told me this was the moment that changed him. The eldest of three boys, he’d joined the military as a midshipman at age 17 to help his divorced mother in the midst of the Great Depression. He entered the Navy with “a schoolboy mentality” about the military: “I was your typical young, ardent performer.” The four visits he made to ground zero during his service in the Korean War left an indelible imprint on his views, leading eventually to his transformation from military man to activist for nuclear disarmament.
“I could see the facts from a different viewpoint,” he said, “right there at ground zero.” The remnants of the blast, the apology letter from some 50 physicists, the Smyth Report, released just days after the blasts—all these things conspired to transform my grandfather from a man who believed that war was inevitable into a man who believes that peace is possible….
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