President Obama will be the first president to visit Hiroshima. The White House insists he will not apologize.
I think he should read this August 1945 editorial, and ask for all to reflect on it:
This is the ultimate in violence. What consequences will flow from this dis- covery nobody can guess. Of one thing however we can be certain. It will not in itself insure the end of war. It may lead to the extermination of man. Each new technological development in the art of killing has been hailed as a gain for peace only to reveal itself as a further extension of the misery of war. Now, at a time when man’s spiritual development has again proved itself unequal to the mastery of the energies he could already command, atomic power is released. Nothing can save the race from new horrors unless we realize that we are tragically unprepared to control in the inter- ests of humanity this incredible new dimension of force. The pride which marked the carefully prepared announcements of the atomic bomb attack reveals clearly the absence of this realization. Instead of congratulating ourselves on winning a race and achieving the impossible, we should now be standing in penitence before the Creator of the power which the atom has hitherto kept inviolate, using what may be our last opportunity to learn the lost secret of peace on earth.
“Atomic Bomb Loosed Against Japan,” Christian Century (August 15, 1945), 923.
The White House says this visit is about the present and the future, not the past. Then use this visit to promise that we will not again fall under the shadow of fear of atomic warfare that we lived under for a generation. Promise that America will not revive outmoded Cold War ideology. That we will not rush to build new weapons of mass destruction. That we will let ICBM silos go dark. That we will beat these unusable swords into plowshares. Never again, should be the president’s message.