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Truman’s Grandson Reflects On Hiroshima Nearly 71 Years After Atomic Bomb Was Dropped via Wisconsin Public Radio

Grandson Says He Grapples With Decision That Both Ended War, Killed Hundreds Of Thousands Of People

Aug. 6 marks the 71st anniversary of President Harry Truman ordering a U.S. airman to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing an estimated 166,000 people and virtually wiping out the Japanese city.

The decision to drop atomic bombs first on Hiroshima and then Nagasaki continues to reverberate through civilization. Truman’s grandson. Clifton Truman Daniel. has grappled with both the necessity of the bombings and the devastation and suffering that resulted.

“I cannot tell a United States Pacific war veteran that dropping those bombs was a bad idea because so many of them come up and they talk to me and they shake my hand and say they owe their lives to that decision,” Truman Daniel said. “At the same time, I’m not going to tell a survivor of Hiroshima or of Nagasaki that it was a great idea, they suffered, too. Both sides suffered.”

Truman Daniel said his grandfather made that decision during World War II to save American lives.

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Five years later, Truman Daniel’s son, Wesley, came home with the children’s book “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes,” which retells the story of Sadako Sasaki, a young Japanese girl from Hiroshima who, despite folding hundreds of paper cranes — a practice in Japan that is believed to provide good health and longevity — died at the age of 12 in 1955 from radiation-induced Leukemia.

“That was the first human story I had ever seen of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, and I remember telling my son, Wesley, that it was important for him both to understand his country’s and his great grandfather’s reason for using those weapons, but also to understand what it cost the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” Truman Daniel said.

Truman Daniel traveled to Hiroshima in 2002 to meet with survivors and with family members who suffered a loss in the atomic bombing. He told Japanese journalists about how moved he was by Sasaki’s story. The story eventually got to Sasaki’s brother, Masahiro, who reached out to Truman Daniel and said he hoped the two would meet one day.

They did, five years later at the World Trade Center memorial in New York City.

“And at the end of our meeting, (Masahiro’s son) dropped a tiny paper crane into my palm and told me it was the last one that Sadako Sasaki folded before she died,” Truman Daniel said.

The moment brought peace to Truman Daniel’s heart, he said.

Read more at Truman’s Grandson Reflects On Hiroshima Nearly 71 Years After Atomic Bomb Was Dropped 

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