Sunday, August 9, 2015

Fat Man and Tricky Dick

Today is August 9.  It is the second Sunday of the month.  Here in the State of Concrete Gardens, the folks who earn their living being wrong about such things have predicted that today shall be a fairly typical summer Sunday.  Hot, sunny, and humid.  

This year's edition of this particular date on the calendar might pass without anything noteworthy happening on it.  It very well might end up being just another tricky day. 

However, on at least two occasions within the past seventy years, August 9 has proven itself to be a day of more than just a little import.  It is a day on which things have happened.  Things that have shaped the course of this nation's history and, by extension, the world's history as well. 

Seventy years ago today, having not been able to prevail upon the Japanese War Council through the annihilation of Hiroshima three days earlier that unconditional surrender was the only option then and there available, the United States dropped the world's second atomic bomb, named "Fat Man", on the Japanese industrial city of Nagasaki.  Incredibly, after Hiroshima's destruction on August 6, 2015 the War Council remained divided on the subject of unconditional surrender.  Japan's Minister of War opined - after Hiroshima - that it remained far too early to say with certainty that the war had been lost.  Following the destruction of Nagasaki and the loss of perhaps as many as 80,000 Japanese lives, Emperor Hirohito ceased following his Minister of War's "advice". On the 15th of August, the Emperor announced to his people that the Japanese had accepted the Allies' terms of unconditional surrender.   

Forty-one years ago today, the United States came under the leadership of a President for whom not a single American had cast a vote.  It was on August 9, 1974 that Gerald Ford ascended to the Presidency of the United States when Richard Milhous Nixon resigned it, which he did at 12:00 PM.   Ford was actually the second Vice-President in the Nixon Administration, having been appointed by the President just eight months earlier to succeed Spiro Agnew - who was too busy being prosecuted for his own malfeasance to continue in the gig.  After he became President, Ford appointed Nelson Rockefeller to be his Vice-President.  For a couple of years, therefore, in the mid-1970's each of the two highest elective offices in the United States was occupied by a man for whom no one had voted.   

Perhaps "Plains, Georgia" is not the answer to the question "Where did Jimmy Carter come from?" Perhaps, instead, the answer is the South Lawn of the White House.  And the date on which his journey began was this very date -- forty-one years ago. 


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