Thursday, January 7, 2010

Twice Bombed

Here's how I read the newspaper every day. After reading the front page and the sports section, I go right to the obituaries. Why? I don't think it's morbid curiosity. Neither is it because I want to check to see whether my name is there. I read the obits because they are often interesting and sometimes fascinating.

Today, I was fascinated by the story of Tsutomu Yamaguchi, who died at the age of 93 in Nagasaki, Japan. He was the only official survivor of both atomic blasts in Japan in 1945. However, there were an estimated 165 survivors of both blasts. These survivors were known as "nijyuu hibakusha" or "twice-bombed."

In his later years, Mr. Yamaguchi campaigned against atomic weapons. In 2006 he wrote a memoir and participated in a documentary about double bombing survivors. When the documentary was shown at the United Nations he called for the abolition of nuclear weapons

Here's what he said about surviving the blasts: "I could have died on either of those days. Everything that follows is a bonus."

Wouldn't it be great if we could see each day as a bonus? I don't believe we have to have a close brush (or two) with death to realize that life is a gift. All we have to do is be grateful for each day and give thanks to the Giver of the gift of life.

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