V-J, 1945

On a foggy Saturday morning in the last summer of World War II, a B-25 bomber smashed into the seventy-ninth floor of the Empire State Building, killing the crew and eleven civilians, mostly young office workers. As an undergraduate at Columbia, just turned eighteen, it seemed to me that this catastrophe on my doorstep was almost more momentous than the daily news of the war we were wrapping up in the Pacific. Even the announcement a week later of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki seemed muted by comparison.Read more »