A StoryI was having a goodbye lunch with a friend of mine yesterday, and she told me a story about her grandfather that she'd pieced together over the last year of looking through all of his papers.
She never knew what he'd done in WWII. "What's in the past stays in the past," he would say, with more than a hint of sadness. She knew that he had been depressed for many, many years, and other relatives said that it had begun after the war.
She began doing some detective work, looking at all of his old letters and documents, and started making connections.
As it turns out, he worked on The Manhattan Project as a chemical engineer at the Los Alamos facility. He believed--as many other scientists apparently did--that making an atomic weapon would ensure that it would never need to be used, because it was such a powerful deterrent.
The first time the bomb was tested, he and some of his co-workers rented out two full blocks and had a big party. They thought it was the day that war ended.
When Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima, and then Fat Man on Nagasaki, he realized that his work was partially responsible, and that a door had opened that would never be closed.
It haunted him for the rest of his life.