Saturday, August 8, 2015



Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Seventy years ago today, August 8, 1945, two days after the first atomic bomb was dropped by the United States on Hiroshima,  the White House announced the news that a second atomic bomb had been dropped on Nagasaki.

Nagasaki, located in Southern Japan, was one of the nation's largest seaports and was the location of  a major industrial production of war material.  The bomb detonated 1,540 feet above the city at 11:01 a.m. local time. 

The bomb was dropped from Bockscar, a B-29 Superfortress commanded by Major Charles W. Sweeney.  Estimates are that between 60,000 to 75,000 people were killed by the bomb.

According on a recent article in the New York Times, the issue as to whether or not the use of atomic weapons was necessary is still debated seventy years later.  The Times, drawing on responses from readers, says that "cogent justifications (or) condemnations" are offered from both sides of the question.

The arguments include that the bomb was justified to save American lives in an invasion of mainland Japan, or that it was not justified because Japan was "sending signals" of a desire to surrender before Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

President Truman never doubted that he made the right decision in using the atomic bomb.  A Times reader from Pelham, New York, Matt Roden, expresses Mr. Truman's dilemma well...

"As horrific as the bomb was, I do think the decision is defendable since either way, the human and economic toll of the alternatives would have been catastrophic..."


"Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Revives Debate Over the Atomic Bomb," The New York Times, August 5, 2015,

Panorama of Nagasaki Monument
At the Hypocenter of the Blast
Photo by Dean S. Pemberton (2008)


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Forty-one years ago this evening, August 8, 1974, Richard M. Nixon, announced that he would be resigning the office of President of the United States the next morning.

Mr. Nixon, speaking from the oval office, said:

"I have never been a quitter.  To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body.  But as president I must put the interests of America first."

Richard Milhous Nixon, who lost his first bid for the Presidency to John F. Kennedy in 1960 but won in his second attempt vs. Hubert H. Humphrey in 1968, became the first POTUS to resign.

The resignation came as a result of the Watergate scandal which had tarnished Mr. Nixon's second term.

The scandal began with a break-in at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel complex on June 17, 1972 by members of Nixon's "Committee to Re-elect the President" or CREEP.

According to Jim Malone of Voice of America,"much of the Watergate scandal was uncovered and documented by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein."

The Senate Select Committee on Watergate, chaired by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina held hearings which were televised nationally and led to the adoption of three articles of impeachment by the House Judicial Committee.


"Nixon Resignation Still Resonates 40 years After Watergate," by Jim Malone, August 8, 2014, Voice of America,

Nixon Announces Resignation on TV
August 8, 1964


Boston, Massachusetts (JFK+50) A concerned President John F. Kennedy conferred with doctors at Children's Hospital here in Boston 52 years ago today, August 8, 1963, about the condition of his newly born son, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy.

Baby Patrick was was born 5 and 1/2 weeks premature on August 7 at Otis Air Force Base Hospital where Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy had been rushed by helicopter from Hyannisport.

President Kennedy, who had flown by helicopter to Boston,  wore a white cap and gown as he "watched helplessly through a small porthole in the high-pressure chamber" where the baby was fighting for his life.

Antibiotics were not helping so as Ralph G. Martin writes...

"The only hope was that normal body functions would dissolve...a veil-like membrane (which) covered the inside of his walnut-size lungs..."*

*Hyaline membrane disease is caused by the development of an insufficiency of surfactant production and structural immaturity of the lungs.  It is the leading cause of death in premature births.


"A Hero For Our Time:  An Intimate Story of the Kennedy Years," by Ralph G. Martin, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1983.