On August 6, 1945, the Little Boy atomic bomb was dropped from the US Air Force B-29 bomber Enola Gay on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. It is estimated that 140,000 people died from the immediate blast and radiation poisoning that year, with many more dying in the aftermath. Three days later, after the Japanese failed to surrender, Nagasaki was bombed.
The morality – alongside the military necessity – of the Allies' act has been extensively debated ever since then. But it marked the beginning of a nuclear arms race that has cost billions and is an enduring threat to the very fabric of the earth. This is a prayer for Hiroshima Day.
God our Father, we acknowledge the terrible responsibility of the knowledge of good and evil.
We have not always chosen well.
We grieve for those who died on this day 73 years ago, and in the days and years since then. We acknowledge that the hearts of human beings are tainted by sin, that we do not see clearly or love purely, and that we are sometimes misled by fear, hatred and despair.
We grieve for the lost opportunities of these decades: the misdirected resources, the wasted energies, the financial and moral cost of human sinfulness.
We acknowledge our fear of the future, as tensions rise again between the US and North Korea and the world seems as far away as ever from nuclear disarmament.
And we pray for a world in which the threat of global devastation is lifted as the nations put aside their weapons of terror. Give peace, O God, we pray.