The season of Hiroshima arrives each August in the heat of summer. The bomb exploded over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and three days later a second bomb exploded over Nagasaki. Total destruction. The flattening of cities, the incineration of all forms of life. It is a season of memory, reflection, and rededication to the future of life.

Hiroshima was the awakening of the Nuclear Age. It was a moment in history when time stood still. The clocks were frozen at 8:16 a.m. It was not the end of war as had been hoped, but the end of a certain innocence that could never return. Hiroshima taught us that time was not infinite for humanity, that the future was not assured. We had harnessed the awesome and awful power of the atom, and with this the power to destroy ourselves.

Hiroshima neither was nor is about victory or defeat. Nor is it about the Japanese, the Americans, or the people of any other single country. Hiroshima belongs to all humanity, residing in our collective consciousness. It is universal. We share in its destructive fire. We share in its suffering, its death, and rebirth.

The spirit of Hiroshima is “Never Again!” The promise on the Memorial Cenotaph at Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park reads “Let All Souls Here Rest in Peace; For We Shall Not Repeat the Evil.” It is a promise to not only those who died, but to those who lived. It is a promise to all humanity and to the future. The “We” in the promise is all of us. It is a promise to ourselves.

Wherever you live, take note of this season, and spend some time in contemplation on the meaning for humanity of the historic, somber events which took place on August 6 and August 9, 1945.