2011年10月07日

38 America 4-3

B-29 Superfortress, Enola Gay

On April 21, 2005, I visited the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the new facility of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Despite the severe security check at the entrance, taking pictures was not prohibited inside the building.

I was overwhelmed to see the gigantic super-high ceiling. Various types of America’s proud fighter aircrafts were ostentatiously displayed there. Of them, the Boeing-built B-29 Superfortress, Enola Gay, which had been used to drop the A-bomb on Hiroshima, was by far the largest. B-29 bombers, which were capable of flying as high as 10,000m, could never be shot from Japanese fighter aircrafts, which were no match for them. I hear that their metallic silver bodies were designed to reflect sunlight so as to intimidate the enemy with their blinding reflection.

I had a recollection of A- bomb survivors saying, “I saw a shining B-29 drop something like a parachute.”

It was the first time for me to see the bomber, Enola Gayi, because I was inside an air-raid shelter at the time of the A-bombing. This maternal B-29 named after the mother of its captain, Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr., reached the sky over Hiroshima with its evil child, “Little Boy,” the nickname for the A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima, in her body, and gave birth to it, the first A-bomb. I spontaneously uttered a few words, “This is the assailant of Hiroshima.” The bomber of Nagasaki, by the way, was nicknamed Bockscar and the A-bomb it dropped was called “Fat Man.”

A guide plate in front of Enola Gay gave a simple explanation, but no description of the A-bombing. Groups of people were coming up to Enola Gay one after another. A guide explained, “The B-29 Superfortress was the most sophisticated bomber of World War II. Thanks to this B-29 bomber, Enola Gay, peace was brought to the world.” Listening to the guide, everyone uttered admiration and looked at Enola Gay with respect. When I went close to them, they cast an eye to me as if to say, “Ah, ah …a Japanese.”

In Columbus, Ohio, I joined the mission group that had started their journey earlier. In the yard of the state capital building, I saw an array of monuments dedicated to the soldiers killed in wars. Although the U.S. has never been defeated in any war, it has lost innumerable lives for the country.

A few years ago, I saw a documentary on TV in Japan, in which Capt. Paul Tibbets toured across the country giving talks as a hero of WW II. I knew Capt. Tibbets lived somewhere in this city. The streets were lined with apple trees. Their white blossoms were too bright to me.

After dropping the A-bomb on Hiroshima, every crew member had a choice of living with regret or with pride. Capt. Tibbets chose the latter. Or maybe the new post-war political system needed to make him a hero. I heard that replicas of Enola Gay and pictures of Capt. Tibbets standing by Enola Gay with his own autograph sold the most at the museum shop.

I feel a little sorry for Capt. Tibbets, whose life was also tragic. He was affected by the expediency of his country.


38%20%E3%82%A8%E3%83%8E%E3%83%A9%E3%80%80%E3%82%B2%E3%82%A4.JPG
(Enola Gay)