Thursday, November 01, 2007

Brig. Gen Paul Tibbits

Three weeks ago today, my Dad died. He was 87 years old, and a former B17 instructor and pilot.

Today, former Brigadier General Paul Tibbits, 92, passed away. General Tibbits was made famous (or perhaps infamous) as the pilot of the Enola Gay, the B29 that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

The men and women of the Greatest Generation continue to leave us daily, making our lives much less for their loss.

As I grew up in my house, my Dad would remember the first atomic bomb each year on August 6th, and speak of it, and General Tibbits, who he knew distantly from the War. We would hear stories of the famous plane, the Enola Gay, named after Gen. Tibbits mother.

My Dad was aloft in his B17 the day of the bomb's dropping, being informed in a morning briefing that no flights were allowed within a wide radius of Hiroshima that fateful day. As he flew early that morning, Dad recalled seeing what he described as a "second sun" in the sky, and remarking to his crew, "that must have been one hell of a bombing run!"

Many will continue to argue of the morality of the decision to drop the bomb, but Colonel Tibbits remarked once, "The guys who appreciated that I saved their asses are mostly dead now." Tibbits went on to offer that "in war, there is no morality", as a partial response to those who questioned the morality of the use of the atomic bomb. My Dad would have agreed with that. Still, between 70,000 and 100,000 Japanese souls perished in the blast that day. Hell on earth, unleashed.

Lord, save us from ourselves.

For a brief overview of the life of General Tibbits, see this NPR piece, released today.

This Would Be Me

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