Saturday, August 6, 2005

On This Date

  • August 6, 1945 – Hiroshima was obliterated by the first atomic bomb.
  • August 6, 1965 – President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.

    There’s a parallelism in these two events. Both brought unimaginable change to the societies that were effected by them. Both were seen by some as the only way of ending a struggle; one in a terrible flash and loss of hundreds of thousands of lives in a microsecond, the other in our nation finally putting into federal law the the death knell of the legacy of discrimination and inequality. There were those who argued that both methods were too extreme; the natural course of events would bring about the desired result without such radical devices. Both put the president at the time under tremendous pressure from the country, but both men — Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson — said afterwards that they did not regret the decisions they made.

    My generation and all after will deal with the consequences of the events that happened on this day sixty and forty years ago. The charge to the generations that follow will be to do a better job than we did.