Frozen in Time | God's World News

Frozen in Time

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    This watch melted during the August 6, 1945, bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. (Nikki Brickett/RR Auction via AP)
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    The watch sold at auction for more than $31,000. (Nikki Brickett/RR Auction via AP)
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    Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., pilot of the Enola Gay, waves from the cockpit before takeoff on August 6, 1945. (AP)
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    Survivors of the Hiroshima bombing receive emergency treatment by military medics on August 6, 1945. (AP)
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    An Allied correspondent stands in a sea of rubble in Hiroshima, Japan, a month after the atomic bombing. (AP/Stanley Troutman, Pool)
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The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan on August 6 and 9, 1945, ended World War II in horrific fashion. A wristwatch found in the debris freeze-frames the exact moment of the Hiroshima blast. Now an auction house has sold the sober reminder of the day the first bomb fell.

On May 8, 1945, the war in Europe ends. Japan, however, remains committed to defeating Allied powers France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States in particular.

Japan deploys more than a half-million soldiers and thousands of kamikaze boats and planes to the island of Kyushu. Credible intelligence says Japan will execute all American prisoners should the Yanks land on its soil. Japanese surrender seems impossible.

U.S. President Harry S. Truman made a decision. The United States would deploy a powerful new weapon to end the war decisively and immediately.

Hiroshima was the first target. The city was home to Japanese army headquarters and key wartime supply industries. It also held about 350,000 residents.

Monday morning, August 6, three U.S. B-29 bombers took off from Tinian, an island in the Pacific. The Enola Gay carried a 10,000-pound object: the world’s first atomic bomb.

At 8:15 a.m., the bomb fell from the plane. Seconds later, there was blinding light, intense heat, and “a turbulent mass of smoke that had the appearance of bubbling hot tar,” according to pilot Paul Tibbets.

On the ground, some 78,000 image-bearers perished instantly. Statues melted, roof tiles fused, buildings crumbled. Many more people died of injuries and illnesses later.

In the weeks following the cataclysm, a British soldier combed the ruins of Hiroshima. He found in the blast zone a small brass-tone watch. It was bubbled and melted. But its hands could still be seen through the cloudy glass: 8:15, the exact moment of the bomb detonation.

Would the war have ended without atomic bombs? Was American justified in dropping them? Historians and Christians have argued these questions for decades. Here’s what’s certain: God blesses true peacemakers and says they shall be called His sons. (Matthew 5:9) A peaceful, godly, quiet life can lead people to salvation. (1 Timothy 2:1-4) Anything else is human guessing.

RR Auction House in Boston, Massachusetts, sold the watch alongside other historic artifacts. The winning bid was $31,113. The memento mori (reminder of death’s certainty) went to an anonymous bidder.

Auction executive Bobby Livingston hopes the Hiroshima watch does more than “remind us of the tolls of war.” He hopes it will underscore the need to avoid such devastation in the future.

Why? War artifacts can serve as sobering reminders of humanity’s frailty, failings—and the need for a perfect Savior.

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