Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Greatest Generation

Professors, doctors, scientists, attorneys, journalists, clergy, and the homemakers that kept life going while these members of The Greatest Generation were off serving the country in World War II, have all taken root at Springmoor, enriching our community with their diverse, unique and wonderful histories. 

Two of our residents played a first hand role in one of the major events of World War II: the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, an event that occured just a little over 65 years ago, but changed the world forever.  The News & Observer featured these residents as part of their recap on this day in history, so read on in case you missed it!

"RALEIGH -- Sixty-five years ago today, high in the mountains of northern New Mexico, the public address system at a secret facility called Site Y - now known as Los Alamos National Laboratory - crackled to life.

Worth Seagondollar paused, along with hundreds of other scientists, engineers and technicians who had been working for years to figure out how to create the first nuclear bombs.
"Attention, please. Attention, please," the announcer said. "One of our units has just been successfully dropped on Japan."

That was it. No details about the destruction or even the name of the city that had been struck, Hiroshima.

But Seagondollar, 89, who now lives at Springmoor retirement center in North Raleigh, was one of only a handful of people who had seen an atomic bomb blast firsthand, and he knew that the world was suddenly much different.

Thousands of people had probably died in an instant, and a new weapon had been unleashed that allowed humans to kill each other in vast numbers. But it also surely meant the end of the most horrific war in world history and of the global march of fascism.

"I didn't have any feelings of regret at all," he said in an interview this week. "My feeling was that it was the beginning of the end of the Japanese war, and it was."

Later that day at another Manhattan Project site, Oak Ridge in the Tennessee mountains, Raymond Murray came home to his hastily-built government house where his wife had learned a secret he had been keeping. She had heard about the bomb on the radio.

"I finally know what you've been doing all this time," she said.