Reading this makes me wonder…
Japanese survivors of the world’s first nuclear attack on Hiroshima voiced regret today that the American pilot of the plane that dropped the bomb died without saying sorry.
Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr., whose B-29 bomber dubbed the Enola Gay dropped the 9,000-pound “Little Boy” bomb on August 6, 1945, died yesterday at his home in the midwest city of Columbus, Ohio. He was 92. [link]
How significant is the acto of saying sorry? Would it have helped if Tibbets had actually said sorry before he died ? What if he had just said it because people expected him to, but he never really meant what he said.
Would it in any way, shape or form lessen the suffering of those who survived and whose lives were changed forever ?
This is not the same as e.g. The Unabomber or Timothy McVeigh saying sorry. They did what they did out of their own will. No authority or person forced them to do it. But Tibbets was following military orders.
I do not know enough about him or his life, but I wonder if he knew the gravity of his job, flying out to Hiroshima that eventful night. However…
His mission would end a war, change how war’s fought and even change the world.
But of the 14 aviators who flew and crewed the B-29 Enola Gay that would drop the Little Boy on Hiroshima, much of the truth was known only by Tibbets.
“He was the only one who knew the full story,” said Bill Wilcox, a Manhattan Project member and historian.
Four decades later, Tibbets would say history was his last concern
“Are we going to have enough time to do the types of thing that we know we know we have to do before we get over the target? It was those types of things that were on our mind,” he said in 1985. [link]
I personally don’t think it would make any difference if he apologized or not. Yes, if the US apologized as a nation, that would have a larger, more poignant impact.
What do you think ?
More on Tibbets here