Love Means Knowing When to Say Sorry

65th Anniversary of Hiroshima bombing

Okay, that's a pretty weird opening for a post about the 65th anniversary of dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, but I wanted to get in a dig at the stupidest saying I've ever heard. Namely, "Love means never having to say you’re sorry." 1 No, it doesn't. In fact, just the opposite.

Now, "love" isn't the right word to describe the history and foreign relations of two countries, but it's a much better word to use than you think. The problem isn't with the word "love," but with framing the anniversary as a matter of history and foreign policy. It's not. In fact, it has nothing to do with officialdom.

It's about each individual's internal feelings about the destruction of tens of thousands of lives.

Hiroshima anniversaryThe apology that hasn't been officially given yet can only be from one individual to another, and can only consist of relating the feelings of one person to another. That's the love. Eventually, someone in officialdom will have strong enough personal feelings that will outweigh all the other concerns involved and will travel to Hiroshima and say "I'm sorry."

It might come soon or it might come late, and it might lead a wave of people to this individual feeling or it might follow the wave. But inevitably, this feeling of love - "I'm sorry" - will spread.

Greg Mitchell is the absolute best American source on all things regarding the atomic bomb. His Hiroshima anniversary article and others should be read. (I actually had selected the photo from a Google image search before I saw it at Mitchell's post)

The New York Times also has a Hiroshima commentary with a very personal focus.

1 Did you know that this adage originated in "Love Story"? And that the phrase was mentioned in Erich Segal's obit? (poor bastard) And that Tommy Lee Jones was the source for most of the Ryan O'Neal character, but Al Gore's relationship with his father was also used? Or that Al Gore never said he and Tipper were the sources for "Love Story" or that he invented the internet?

UPDATE: August 9th is the anniversary of the Nagasaki plutonium bombing. Greg Mitchell provides details about the censored first news reports. He starts the article:
Nagasaki, which lost over 70,000 civilians (and a few military personnel) to a new weapon 65 years ago today, has always been The Forgotten A-Bomb City. No one ever wrote a bestselling book called Nagasaki, or made a film titled Nagasaki, Mon Amour. Yet in some ways, Nagasaki is the modern A-bomb city. For one thing, when the plutonium bomb exploded above Nagasaki it made the uranium-type bomb dropped on Hiroshima obsolete. In fact, if it had not exploded off-target the death toll in the city would have easily topped the Hiroshima total.

Hiroshima has always drawn the vast majority of press, public and historical interest, even though many who support the first atomic bombing have expressed severe misgivings about number two because of the failure of United States to give the Japanese at least a few days to consider surrender after the first blast (and the Soviets' declaration of war). Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., once said in an interview that the "nastiest act by this country, after human slavery, was the bombing of Nagasaki."

But Nagasaki was "forgotten" from the very start, thanks to a blatant act of press censorship.


Jayhawk said...

Actually, I would go with, "Love means doing more than saying I'm sorry." Saying "I'm sorry" is a decent enough starting point, but that is meaningless if two thing do not follow that.

First is action to make right the wrong done; payment of the debt, repair of the damage, restoration of the feelings, whatever the need.

Second is a correction of the flaw that caused the wrong to be perpetrated, and a demonstration of that correction so as to provide assurance that the wrong will not be repeated.

Those things completed, one can rest. Until the next wrong is created.

Norwegian Shooter said...

Great point. What I'm trying to say is that changing one's heart has to come before action. Any action before an internal change is empty and doesn't lead to understanding, repentance and redemption.