Remembering My First Toxic Waste
WHEN EARLY AUGUST approaches every year, I think back on an event that happened 10 years before my birth, shaping the foreign policy of every nation on earth. And I also remember walking on a coral island that was totally decimated by nuclear fall-out.
I spent much of my university days studying the evolution of nuclear deterrence as an element of American foreign policy then worked in staff and logistics positions where I moved weapons from installations to decommissioning bunkers. A few weeks of my job involved walking desolate stretches of Enewetok in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where I watched US Army personnel repair an irradiated island. None of that experience would have occurred without the Enola Gay succeeding in its mission.
Today, I'm intrigued when reading snippets on LinkedIn arising from comments made by survivors of nuclear weapons testing. A small pocket of men who participated in clean-up operations in the late 70s have tried unsuccessfully to get their medical cases upgraded by the Veteran's Administration. They're suffering from kidney failure and an assortment of life-threatening ailments seen in Chernobyl survivors. Some have passed their conditions on to sons and daughters just like in Chernobyl.
Whenever the anniversary of the Enola Gay passes by in early August, I'm grateful to have lived a peaceful life.