I have come to Hiroshima to pay homage particularly to our friends and comrades who died here in August, 1945. These included six of my bomber crew; I was spared by being transferred to Tokyo. We come to thank and pay respect to those of you who have recognized these comrades and erected memorials to them.
At the same time we recognize that our comrades are a few among many who died here in August 1945 and pay respect to the memory of their souls. Everyone in Hiroshima at that time was directly affected themselves or through the loss and injury of family and friends, as did many other Japanese. I am one of relatively few Americans who lost personal friends and comrades in the atomic holocaust. Perhaps this closeness aligns me more with the feelings of you, the citizens of Hiroshima. No one can know what the fate of each of us might have been if the fury of atomic fission had not been unleashed on Hiroshima. What we do know is that this force, which is so powerful that it powers the sun, and has an array of effects that even transgresses generations, should never be used to again to vaporize human life in wholesale and then to seep into survivors to kill or maim them, some quickly some slowly, and still affect generations yet to be conceived. I know only the heartache---you know the heartache but also the nightmare memory and insidious residual effects.
We appreciate the reception and hospitality that has been extended to our small group---the memory of which we hope will be passed to the next generation. All of us should certainly desire to keep our family and national pride and loyalty; these are core to our human dignity and instinct. At the same time we must continue to learn how to embrace and enhance our common well being, happiness, and understanding. Whatever the results of this trip might bring I hope that it will contribute, even in an ever so small way, to continued peace and friendship.
We have learned that war brings hatred, suffering, destruction, and waste and that peace can bring happiness and prosperity. Let us each teach this to our sons and daughters.
Thomas C. Cartwright
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