August 9

In observance of the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki — 10 years ago, in other words — San Francisco’s Exploratorium museum created an online exhibit of pictures a Japanese photographer took the day after the attack. A little more than a dozen. That’s about all you’ll want to see.

Another commemoration: For the past few weeks, a writer has “blogged” the events of 1945 as they unfolded from mid-July through the bombing of Hiroshima. I haven’t read everything on the site, but the material is distilled from secondary sources (such as Richard Rhodes’s “The Making of the Atomic Bomb”). It’s actually effective — it’s still gripping to read about the mission/attack as it unfolded, both in the air and on the ground. (Thanks to Marie, who pointed out the site on her blog.)

One perhaps embarrassingly modest conclusion: Something good did come out of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. People still think about the bombings and are still exploring the experience. Mutually assured destruction and Bush’s magic missile shield aside, that compulsion to remember is our best defense against a sequel.

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