Title: Reflections on Hiroshima Day and Personal Connections
As the evening of August 6th, Hiroshima Day, approaches, it brings forth a profound stillness reminiscent of that fateful day 78 years ago. With the specter of J. Robert Oppenheimer and the recent release of a controversial bio-movie, thoughts of the atomic bomb have occupied my mind more than usual. Growing up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, known for its role in the Manhattan Project, my connection to this history goes beyond the general public’s awareness. While the movie “Oppenheimer” fails to compel me due to its excessive focus on salacious scenes, I find my attention drawn to other pressing global issues, such as the alarming presence of pedo-predators contributing to the so-called “border crisis.” Amidst these troubling narratives, my thoughts wander back to a pop-up stand at a local farmers’ market where my children and I decorated brown paper lunch bags to commemorate the victims of Hiroshima.
Personal Connection: Issey Miyake
One of the lunch bags I inscribed was dedicated to the memories of my parents and another to a dear friend, Issey Miyake, who passed away in 2020. I first met Miyake, a renowned fashion designer, in 1983 while he visited Berkeley, California. His iconic exhibit, “Bodyworks,” showcased his latest creation, featuring stunning designs on Grace Jones mannequins that left a profound impact on me. Miyake reciprocated our admiration by sending tickets to Tokyo, paving the way for MOMIX, my dance group, to perform in various theaters across the city. During one taxi ride, Miyake revealed a deep personal connection to Hiroshima; he was born there and bore the physical and emotional scars of the atomic bomb. Despite his desire to be known for his creative pursuits rather than as a survivor, his encounter with the devastation remained etched in his being.
Sierra Hull’s Performance in Oak Ridge
In a brighter vein, Sierra Hull, a gifted musician, will grace the A.K. Bissell Park for the final Summer Sessions concert organized by ORNL-FCU. In a previous Summer Sessions show, Hull invited her band and other musicians to break the myth of social distancing, culminating in a captivating jam session. This year, she might be joined by Wyatt Ellis, a 14-year-old prodigious talent and virtuoso mandolin player, for a performance of their new video, “Grassy Cove.” The healthy and vibrant spirit of bluegrass music, exemplified by the likes of Hull and Ellis, reminds us of the genre’s timeless appeal. For a taste of their virtuosity, I recommend listening to Hull’s duets with banjo maestro Alison Brown and violinist Tessa Lark.
As we approach Hiroshima Day, let us pause to reflect on the immense devastation caused by the atomic bomb and the lasting consequences it had on survivors like Issey Miyake. Amidst global crises and controversial movies, it is important to seek solace in the beauty of music and the connections it fosters. Don’t miss Sierra Hull’s final Summer Sessions concert, a celebration of the ORNL-FCU’s 75th Anniversary, as it promises to be a memorable experience. As we bid adieu to this year’s Summer Sessions, let us hope for its return in 2024, bringing joy and inspiration to Oak Ridge once again. In these challenging times, we must look to art, music, and community to navigate our way forward.