Vol. 12


Smoking Over Hiroshima

August 5 and 6, 1945; Hiroshima, Japan

August 5, 1945: It was a normal day for everyone but the people in the Air Force, including my great-grandfather Joseph Daniel Duggan. Joseph and the rest of the Air Force were planning to drop the world’s first deployed atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. They were planning on dropping the bomb to end the war that the United States had joined when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. Before they dropped the bomb, Joseph smoked a cigar to calm his nerves.

“Joseph, you ready for this big day?” Joseph’s friend asked.

“Well, I have my cigar, so I guess.” Joseph said that to pretty much everything. He loved his cigars.

August 6, 1945: Joseph and his crew were preparing to fly to Hiroshima, Japan, to drop the Little Boy, the first deployed atomic bomb. My great-grandfather was the radio operator. He told the crew members when to drop the bomb.

A friend asked, “Joseph, do you have an extra cigar?”

Joseph looked in his pocket and saw his cigar. It was broken. He knew that after he did what he was about to do, he was going to need one. He pretended that he had one, but it didn’t work, so he thought about his sweet and loving wife and kids. “That works a lot better than a cigar ever has,” he thought to himself.

When it was time, Joseph did his job and told them to drop the bomb. Joseph never thought about that cigar after what he saw. It was a frightening sight. Joseph was traumatized by the death and the chaos. He told the story only once when he left the service. Later in his life he spoke of it more often. He said it haunted him all his life.

Madison McClure; Missouri, USA



This copyrighted story may be copied and/or printed for limited classroom or personal use. To reprint this story in an article about The Grannie Annie, please contact The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration for permission.


Return to Vol. 12 Stories page



Built by Hen's Teeth Network