A Day to Pray for Peace

Seventy-five years ago on August 6, the crew of the Enola Gay dropped “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later another bomber crew dropped a plutonium bomb code-named “Fat Man” on Nagasaki. The atom bombs, also called A-bombs, caused massive death and destruction not seen in the world before or since. Let’s take the time to remember and make August 6th a day to pray for peace.

Image of the lanterns in the lantern festival in Hiroshima, a day the Japanese pray for peace
The Paper Lantern Festival in Hiroshima

Hiroshima

An estimated 350,000 citizens lived in Hiroshima in 1945. On August 6th, the city’s citizens went about their daily lives. They filled the streets and the markets.

Image of Hiroshima from the air before the atom bomb "little boy" was dropped shows the bay, rivers, large buildings and many roads.
Pre-Attack image of Hiroshima By War Department. U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey. Pacific Survey. Physical Damage Division. – National Archives ARC#540225 Record Group:243, Public Domain,

At 8:15 the bomb detonated. The bomb destroyed about 70% of the city. Another 7% suffered severe damage.

Post atom bomb view of hiroshima shows all the area between the rivers to be white--almost every structure and road obliterated.  Please pray for peace
Post-atom bomb By War Department. U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey. Pacific Survey. Physical Damage Division. – National Archives ARC#540226 Record Group:243, Public Domain,

The detonation killed at least 70,000 Japanese, Korean slaves, and visiting Americans immediately. It’s estimated that less than 10% of the casualties were military.

By the end of the year, thermal burns, injuries from the blast and falling debris, and radiation brought the total number of deaths to between 90,000 and 166,000. An exact count doesn’t exist. The bomb destroyed official records. Survivors fled the city if they were able. During the occupation of Japan, we suppressed information about the devastation. And in some cases, the effects of radiation appeared one or two generations later.

Nagasaki

When cloud cover obscured the pilot’s view of the city Kokura, the United States Army Air Force B-29 Bomber carrying “Fat Boy” flew on to Nagasaki.

Aerial image of ground zero Nagasaki before and after the atomic bomb. After image has circles marked 1000 and 2000. Everything within the 1000 mark is wiped out. A damaged building or two stands in the 2000 circle. Pray for peace
Nagasaki Before and After By Fastfission : U.S. National Archives : RG 77-MDH (according to William Burr, The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 162). – File:Nagasaki 1945 – Before and after.jpg, Public Domain,

They dropped the bomb on August 9, 1945, at 11:02 am. It destroyed about 30-40% of the city. An estimated 40,000-75,000 people died immediately. Up to another 40,000 people died within the next few months from thermal burns, blast injuries, injuries from falling debris, and radiation. The death and destruction was reduced because of the amphitheater-like terrain of the harbor and the smaller size of the city, although the “Fat Boy” was the larger of the two bombs.

The Hibakusha 

They perform annual medical assessments on the hibakusha — Japanese for “atomic bomb survivors.”

The hibakusha have lived with physical and emotional injuries and scars for seventy-five years. Some have died of the complications of their physical injuries or the emotional trauma or the radiation. Some of their children and grandchildren have suffered and died from cancer and other genetically passed effects of radiation. A few have survived to old age. We mustn’t forget or overlook their stories.

Peace Message Lantern Floating Ceremony

Since 1947, the city of Hiroshima holds a memorial each August 6th. It is not a holiday but a day to honor the victims and offer them a promise of peace.

Image of the A-bomb Dome at night with paper lanterns glowing before it.
The former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall near ground zero, now part of the Peace Memorial and called the A-bomb Dome.
Image by Vanvelthem Cédric / CC BY-SA

Thousands of people from across the world gather at the Peace Memorial for the ceremonies. First there are speeches and the laying of ceremonial wreaths. At 8:15 there’s a moment of silence, follows by the release of white doves representing the wish for peace.

The Peace Memorial, a park where an area of the blast is preserved, is on the Motoyasu river. Many victims of the atomic bomb suffered terrible thermal burns and jumped into the river. Most of them did not survive.

Around 1948, some citizens began floating paper lanterns “to console the souls of their friends and family members who had possibly passed away in this river and express their wish that they may rest in peace.”

Every year on August 6, about 10,000 paper lanterns carrying names and dates and wishes for peace float past the park. It’s a beautiful sight. (Don’t worry, down river they remove the lanterns lest they become a hazard or pollutant.)

A Day to Pray for Peace

In The Fellowship Dystopia, I created a world where America did not enter World War II. The Atom bombs weren’t dropped. Still, that fictional world is not a pleasant place. But, our world–our real world–has a lot of unpleasantness, too.

The world, and particularly Americans, should honor the tradition. Remember and honor those who died in the bombings and the hibakusha.

Pray that no one ever uses a nuclear bomb again—ever. Pray for peace to whatever deity or power you believe in. Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki and make a wish for peace. And strive to make those wishes come true.

The First Asian-American Woman in the Navy

December 7, 1941, the day they bombed Pearl Harbor, is a date many of you learned in school. You’ve also heard of the anti-Asian sentiment of the time and the horrible Japanese internment camps. But have you heard of the first Asian-American Woman in the Navy? Meet Lieutenant Susan Ahn Cuddy.

Portrait of The first Asian-American Woman in the Navy, Lt. Susan Ahn Cuddy Courtesy of the Navy

Lieutenant Ahn Cuddy joined the Navy in 1942, shortly after the bombing. She wanted to help free Korea from the harsh Japanese colonial era rule. It was a time when many people didn’t believe women belonged in the service. Ahn Cuddy said that just made women try harder.

Early Life

In 1902, her parents immigrated to the United States, the first Korean married couple to do so. They didn’t forget their home country. Under an unequal treaty before they left, and occupied and declared a Japanese protectorate in 1905, then officially annexed in 1910.

Susan, their third child and eldest daughter, was born in 1915. While growing up, her home was a haven for Korean immigrants, including Soh Jaipil, the first Korean American citizen. Her father told his children: “Do your best to be good American citizens but never forget your Korean heritage.”

Throughout her childhood, her family didn’t just speak out against Japan’s repression of Korea but actively worked to free Korea both in the States and abroad. In 1937, Japanese police captured, tortured, and killed Cuddy’s father in Seoul. Her father’s death inspired her and her siblings to continue working to free Korea.

She graduated from San Diego State University in 1940 and joined the Navy in 1942.

Years of Service

Image of Susan, the first Asian-American woman in the Navy, and her two brothers in their service uniforms.
The Ahn Siblings
By U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph Public Domain

Qualified to go to officers’ school, they wouldn’t accept her because she was Asian. She didn’t care. She enlisted again.

They accepted her into the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) program.

Ahn Cuddy worked her way up to become a Link Trainer in 1943. As a Link Trainer, she taught aviators how to maneuver in a simulator cockpit 

She became the first woman Gunnery Officer in the Navy and taught fighter pilots when and how to shoot the enemy. One pilot objected, saying that he’d shoot when he saw the whites of the enemies’ eyes. She told him she didn’t care what he did up there, but down here, he’d shoot when she told him to shoot. 

Eventually, Ahn Cuddy became a Lieutenant. After she left the service in 1947, she worked for US Naval Intelligence and the Library of Congress. She moved on to work for the National Security Agency (NSA) where she was in charge of a think tank of over 300 agents that worked the Russia section.

Ahn Cuddy also worked with the Department of Defense and other agencies on top secret projects.

She retired from service in 1959.

Marriage

Ahn Cuddy wasn’t just the first Asian-American woman in the Navy. Her love life was also an adventure in trailblazing.

She defied Virginia’s racial segregation laws and married an Irish-American in April 1947. The only place that would marry them was a Navy chapel in Washington, DC.

Her husband, Chief Petty Officer Francis “Frank” Xavier Cuddy (1917-1998) was a code breaker for Navy Intelligence and also worked for the NSA. Fluent in Japanese, he helped the United States free Korea. He worked in film processing sales after the Navy. He helped finance the Ahn family′s Moongate restaurant business.

They had two children, Philip “Flip” and Christine

In 1959, they moved back to Los Angeles. Ahn Cuddy wanted to focus on raising their children and hoped to win her mother’s acceptance of her mixed-race marriage.

Civilian Life

Ahn Cuddy helped her eldest brother Philip Ahn (the pioneering Asian American actor) and sister Soorah run their popular Chinese restaurant, Moongate, in Panorama City. After her brother died in 1978, she managed the restaurant and worked to document the family’s accomplishments.

She retired from the restaurant business in 1990 but stayed active.

She spoke at Navy functions, and Korean American community events, and even campaigned for presidential candidate Barack Obama. A breast cancer survivor, she raised money for the cause.

Legacy and Death

She received honors and many accolades by county and state government bodies and nonprofits. On October 5th, 2006, she received the American Courage Award from the Asian American Justice Center in Washington D.C.

She died at home at the age of 100 on June 24, 2015.

Willow Tree Shade by John Cha is the story of her life. Her daughter read the book after Ahn Cuddy died and said, “What an incredible life…”

A brief interview with her children appears on StoryCorps. They spoke about their mother in loving and respectful terms and recalled that her most heavy duty criticism was to call someone “limited.” And they both agreed how lucky they were to have a mom like that. 

An Incredible Life

The First Asian-American Woman in the Navy, the first woman Gunnery Officer in the Navy, and an intelligence officer, Lieutenant Susan Ahn Cuddy was an amazing woman. If you enjoy reading about strong women, check out Would You Have Been First. If you like your fiction heroes to be strong women, read My Soul to Keep. Whatever you read next—Happy reading!

Desperately Sleep Deprived and a Little Progress

How can it be the end of July? Time froze in March, didn’t it? No, of course not. Time marches relentlessly forward. So onward I march. July was a month of being desperately sleep deprived and a little progress.

Mug inscribed with  "It's coffee o'clock" held the elixir of the desperately sleep deprived me

Sleep Deprived

The first week of July my fifteen-year-old Yorkie, Astro, had a dreadful night. He couldn’t settle down. I could find nothing wrong with him, but he’d only quiet down if I held him. So I held him a lot, thinking we were near the end of his time with us.

After a brief phone consultation with the vet’s office the next morning, I decided to keep him home and love on him. So, I drank lots of my magic elixir and we muddled through days and nights and then weeks.

He improved slowly. He’s weaker than before and can lose his balance easily. But he drinks and eats well—better than before his awful night. And he sleeps through the night again. Walking in the grass is much easier for him, so I give him plenty of opportunities to do that. And I’m still loving on him a lot.

WIP Progress Report

If I Should Die, book 2 in The Fellowship Dystopia series, is at 85,000 words. I didn’t make half the progress I had intended to in July. And after a few nights sleep, I realized that sleep-deprived writing isn’t good writing. I backtracked a bit and am moving forward again.

Learning

I continue to learn about marketing books and am beginning to see that learning turn into some profitable marketing. Yay!

I also took an amazing course from Margie Lawson’s Writer Academy. “Potent Pitches and Brilliant Blurbs,” taught by Suzanne Purvis, was worth every penny and every minute of time I spent on it. And now I have a blurb, or back of the book description, for If I Should Die. (It will be revealed in a few months.)

Reading

Line drawing of a boy leaning against his dog while reading a book and like him, despite being sleep deprived I read

I finished Writing the Other, A Practical Approach by Nisi Shawl & Cynthia Ward. It challenges you through discussions and exercises to examine your preconceived notions of the “other.” The other is any person whose gender or race or ethnicity or culture differs from yours. I’ve been aware of my white privilege for a long while, but this book opened my eyes further. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wishes to write “other” points of view.

I also finished Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells. I found this one to drag a little in the middle, but once all the setup process finished, it zips right along to a satisfying ending. If you haven’t read Murderbot’s stories—I recommend them.

In Review

I learned a lot. I’ve made plans for posts and for website improvements. New covers are in progress. And cars, yard, and house got some improvements. (A huge thank you shout out to my son for his help!)

We continue to stay home and follow safe distances, hand washing, and masking when we’re out.

While desperately sleep deprived and a little progress is the title for this month’s progress report, it doesn’t say it all. Love and health and forward motion end this rocky month on a positive note. How was your month?