Tag Archives: Ella Rutledge

thoughts about Hiroshima

 

‘He was an American child in Hiroshima on the day the atomic bomb was dropped’

 

Re:

“He was an American child in Hiroshima on the day the atomic bomb dropped”

by Ted Gup

The Washington Post

August 4, 2020

 

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Roger Smith email to Ella Rutledge, August 5, 2020

Ella —

This story greatly affected me.

My father, a WWII veteran, bought the rationale for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I don’t hold that against him; such views were widely shared. But as an adolescent — or around that age — when I heard this, I didn’t agree. Over the years, the conviction that the bombing was wrong and totally unjustified has become stronger. It was strengthened by a reading of John Hersey’s “Hiroshima,” I think in my late teens.

Am I right that there has been no other use of an atomic or nuclear bomb by any nation ever?

It was Truman’s new toy; we couldn’t resist using it. He was foolish enough to brag about us having it to Stalin at Potsdam.

Why is Truman regarded as an outstanding president? The former haberdasher’s moral compass was out of order.

Roger

 

Ella Rutledge email to Roger Smith, August 5, 2020

Roger,

Thanks for sending the link to the article about Kakita. I was glad to read it. I had not known about Americans in Hiroshima when it was bombed. What a story! When I lived in Japan, I did not visit Hiroshima, but I saw an exhibit at my local library of essays or letters written by school children about their experience. It was heartbreaking.

I sympathize with your views on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The often-heard “excuse” is that by killing all those Japanese civilians, it saved millions of more deaths from the war. My view is, if it was necessary to frighten the Japanese into submission and admitting defeat, why didn’t they drop the bomb on some unoccupied island in the Pacific? Or just into the ocean? I wonder if the people involved in the bomb’s development just got carried away and allowed their eagerness to see how it worked blind them to the reality of what they were doing. After, horrified by what they had done, they made up the story about sparing millions of lives.

To my knowledge, no other use of the bomb has been made since then.

Is today the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing?

Ella

 

Roger Smith email to Ella Rutledge, August 5, 2020

Ella —

The anniversary is tomorrow apparently

From Wikipedia:

The United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively, with the consent of the United Kingdom, as required by the Quebec Agreement. The two bombings killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, most of whom were civilians, and remain the only uses of nuclear weapons in armed conflict.

You wrote: “I sympathize with your views on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The often-heard “excuse” is that by killing all those Japanese civilians, it saved millions of more deaths from the war. My view is, if it was necessary to frighten the Japanese into submission and admitting defeat, why didn’t they drop the bomb on some unoccupied island in the Pacific? Or just into the ocean? I wonder if the people involved in the bomb’s development just got carried away and allowed their eagerness to see how it worked blind them to the reality of what they were doing. After, horrified by what they had done, they made up the story about sparing millions of lives.

This is right on.

Roger

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

  August 6, 2020

 

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Addendum:

“The Soviets believed that President Harry S. Truman had dropped atomic bombs on Japan to “show who was boss,” as the Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov later put it. The bombs, he stated in his memoir, “Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics,” were “not aimed at Japan but rather at the Soviet Union.”

— “Long After the Bomb, Its Story Finds a New Audience: ‘Hiroshima,’ one of the first accounts of the devastation in Japan, was read nearly everywhere in the world except Russia. Nearly 75 years later, that is changing.” By Lesley M. M. Blume and Anastasiya Osipova, The New York Times, October 12, 2020

ROGER W. SMITH: I think this is true.

“Sing on! you gray-brown bird”

 

 

“Sing on! you gray-brown bird”

movement eight from When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d: A Requiem for those we love

composed by Paul Hindemith.

text from Walt Whitman’s poem of the same name

Words and music fitting for our present time.

 

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Sing on, sing on you gray-brown bird,
Sing from the swamps, the recesses, pour your chant from the
bushes,
Limitless out of the dusk, out of the cedars and pines.

Sing on dearest brother, warble your reedy song,
Loud human song, with voice of uttermost woe.

O liquid and free and tender!
O wild and loose to my soul—O wondrous singer!
You only I hear—yet the star holds me, (but will soon depart,)
Yet the lilac with mastering odor holds me.

Now while I sat in the day and look’d forth,
In the close of the day with its light and the fields of spring, and
the farmers preparing their crops,
In the large unconscious scenery of my land with its lakes and
forests,
In the heavenly aerial beauty, (after the perturb’d winds and the
storms,)
Under the arching heavens of the afternoon swift passing, and the
voices of children and women,
The many-moving sea-tides, and I saw the ships how they
sail’d,
And the summer approaching with richness, and the fields all busy
with labor,
And the infinite separate houses, how they all went on, each with
its meals and minutia of daily usages,
And the streets how their throbbings throbb’d, and the cities pent
—lo, then and there,
Falling upon them all and among them all, enveloping me with the
rest,
Appear’d the cloud, appear’d the long black trail,
And I knew death, its thought, and the sacred knowledge of
death.

Then with the knowledge of death as walking one side of me,
And the thought of death close-walking the other side of me,
And I in the middle as with companions, and as holding the
hands of companions,
I fled forth to the hiding receiving night that talks not,
Down to the shores of the water, the path by the swamp in the
dimness,
To the solemn shadowy cedars and ghostly pines so still.

And the singer so shy to the rest receiv’d me,
The gray-brown bird I know receiv’d us comrades three,
And he sang the carol of death, and a verse for him I love.

From deep secluded recesses,
From the fragrant cedars and the ghostly pines so still,
Came the carol of the bird.

And the charm of the carol rapt me,
As I held as if by their hands my comrades in the night,
And the voice of my spirit tallied the song of the bird.

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“I will try to remain calm. I will try to concentrate my attention on the sound of the wind and the buzzing of the bees outside my window, the scent of the hoya blossom, … and the sight of the cherry trees in bloom.” — Ella Rutledge, March 30, 2020

 

posted by Roger W. Smith

   April 2020

pre-spring haiku

 

all over the place

water running faster than you can walk:

snowmelt

— Ella Rutledge (posted on her Facebook page, February 2019)

I wish to thank my friend Ella Rutledge for giving me permission to post her haiku on this site.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   February 24, 2019

 

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photographs of Central Park taken February 21, 2019 by Roger W. Smith

 

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A Slap in the Face? Or, Reverse Racism?

 

See:

‘A Slap in the Face’: Pick of White Man to Lead Council Draws Fire

by Jeffery C. Mays And J. David Goodman

The New York Times

December 22, 2017

“For months, black political leaders watched the bare-knuckled, back-room race to lead the New York City Council with a mix of hope and trepidation. Five of the eight candidates were black or Hispanic — offering the prospect of a first black speaker — but two of the most prominent front-runners were white men.

“In the end, one of those white men, Councilman Corey Johnson of Manhattan, emerged victorious. Now black leaders are railing against a process that produced another white face atop the government of a majority-minority city that already has white men in the roles of mayor, comptroller, three of five district attorney’s offices and at the heads of various city agencies.”

… ‘This is a slap in the face,’ said Rev. Jacques Andre DeGraff, associate pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem. ‘People feel offended.’ ”

 

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“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

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my thoughts:

How far we have come since the idealism of those days. Or, should I say, how sad that the political dialogue when it comes to race has reached such depths.

Why should be being white be an impediment to being a viable candidate?

“[B]lack leaders are railing against a process that produced another white face atop the government of a majority-minority city. …,” the article states. What if I stated the opinion that there should be more whites in leadership positions for some reason or other? Think I wouldn’t be labeled a white supremacist?

And, what do “white” and “black” mean anyway? See my previous post

“this isn’t racism?”

this isn’t racism?

Has the possibility that they themselves might be engaging in reverse racism ever occurred to the black leaders quoted in this article. Has the mere THOUGHT ever crossed their minds, troubled them, or caused them to do some self-examination?

 

— Roger W. Smith

  December 23, 2017; reposted December 26

 

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addendum:

a comment by my friend Ella Rutledge (posted on Facebook):

“I differ with you on this, Roger. How can Dr. King’s dream come true if positive action is not taken, sacrifices made? Reverse racism? So what? At least white guys then get to know what racism feels like.”

the demise of Lord & Taylor

 

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Lord & Taylor's

Lord & Taylor, New York City; photo by Roger W. Smith

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photo by Roger W. Smith

The following is an exchange of emails from today between me and the poet and essayist/writer Luanne Castle, host of the popular website (of which I am a fan)

https://writersite.org/

 

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hi, Luanne

I am in the Lord and Taylor’s department store (great store) shopping for a pair of gloves, and I suddenly thought of your great post about the closing of stores.

Apropos this, see link to NY Times article from October below

“Lord & Taylor Building, Icon of New York Retail, to Become WeWork Headquarters”

by Michael J. De La Merced and Michael Corkery

The New York Times

October 24, 2017

best wishes,

Roger

 

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from Luanne Castle to Roger Smith

Ugh, I really hate to hear that (the article’s story). So sad. And what a beautiful old ceiling in the photo you shared. Thanks, Roger.

I watched a 20-year-old movie the other day and was astonished at how rapidly the world has changed in the past 20 years!

Best,

Luanne

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from Roger Smith to Luanne Castle

Thanks, Luanne.

I don’t know if you know New York City or have been there.

I grew up in Greater Boston, have lived in NYC since my early 20’s; my wife is a native New Yorker.

I am not a clothes horse (I’m actually the opposite) and I’m not a shopper, but my wife introduced me to Lord and Taylor’s department store and I love it.

It’s located on Fifth Avenue between 38th and 39th Streets, two blocks from the New York Public Library, my home away from home … people come to see the Christmas display in the front windows at the Fifth Ave entrance.

It’s such a nice store to just be in … I will go there on breaks from the library and get a coffee and snack in the cafe … sometimes will do a little shopping or hang around … the staff is so pleasant.

It’s an oasis … my wife and I are so disappointed that it’s essentially closing next year (shrinking from the current ten floors to two).

My wife loves to shop there … she goes on Sundays when there’s parking in midtown Manhattan.

I loved to go Christmas shopping with my Dad and siblings in Jordan Marsh, the main department store in Boston, when I was growing up. They had wonderful displays of toys, such as a big, elaborate electric train display.

We have family photos of my older brother and my sister with the Jordan Marsh Santa — my brother was sitting on his knee … they both have that starry-eyed look of wonderment.

The demise of Lord and Taylor’s is a real disappointment. There is a Macy’s in a mall near where we live; shopping there is downright unpleasant.

Roger

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   December 13, 2017

 

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addendum:

Check out Luanne Castle’s post

“RIP Dreamland”

RIP Dreamland

about the decline of retail over the years as viewed by Luanne through the prism of her family’s experience and hers growing up.

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My friend Ella Rutledge commented as follows on Facebook:

Ella Rutledge, December 14, 2017:

You probably know that Jordan Marsh was long ago replaced by Macy’s and the Filene’s across the street has also been closed down. No more Filene’s Basement! I agree with you and your wife about department stores. Japan does them really well, and I used to love wandering through the many floors of beautiful things and smelling the perfume when I walked in the front door. Too bad about Lord & Taylor. [All of the US stores Ella mentions are in Boston, except for Lord and Taylor.]

 

Roger Smith:

Really interesting input, Ella. I was vaguely aware that Filene’s Basement was gone, didn’t know what had happened to Jordan Marsh (or Filene’s itself). Then, there was the bargain clothing store Raymond’s, where I bought a favorite sport jacket I had forever (wouldn’t fit me now) in college for $19. Interesting about the Japanese department stores. Wish I could visit them. I was in Tokyo once in the 1990’s. Strolled along Ginza but didn’t actually go into any of the department stores with the dazzling window displays, unfortunately.

Notre-Dame de Paris

 

Notre-Dame de Paris was one of my favorite places to visit during a first trip to Paris in 1972.

A friend, Bill Dalzell, a printer whom I knew from my workplace in Manhattan, encouraged me to visit the cathedral. He had written me a postcard once — he said similar things on other occasions – stating that it was the “most holy” place he ever visited.

The church was built in stages over a period of years during the thirteenth century.

 

— Roger W. Smith

   April 2016

 

photograph by Patrice Petillot

Notre-Dame de Paris

Notre-Dame de Paris

 

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follow up:

Ella Rutledge, April 2, 2016

I went there last September but didn’t have a chance to go inside; it was closed by the time I arrived.

Did you go inside? What was it like? Did you have to wait in a long line and if so, was it worth the wait?

 

Roger W. Smith, April 2, 2016

It was a long time ago. I do recall any difficulty getting in. I went there several times and observed the cathedral from both inside and outside. It is located on the Île de la Cité, which sets it apart from the rest of Paris.

I went to a mass at Notre-Dame and heard a homily in French. My French was fair, but I understood little of it. The priest spoke earnestly and with what appeared to be great conviction.

There was no difficultly with respect to attending or getting into the mass. This was in 1972.

You ask, “What was it [Notre-Dame] like?” I do not recall precisely, except that it was huge inside and dark, but very nice. And impressive, needless to say.

Perhaps the situation with Notre-Dame is like that with the Louvre now. I went back to Paris in 1999 with my wife and two sons. We went to the Louvre, which was close to our hotel. There was a terribly long line to get in, and everything about the visit was unpleasant. We did not stay.

I did not like visiting the Louvre much in 1972 either. The Louvre is way too crowded, so that one can barely look at the paintings. It seemed on our most recent visit, in the summer, to be overly air conditioned, and so forth.