My birthday, Nakasaki Day, and my father’s work in Los Alamos:

Reflections on heart wrenching common ground.

Georgia NeSmith


“Antelope Canyon” photographer unknown. NOTE: I had difficulty selecting a photo for this piece. I think what drove me to it, unconsciously, is that it makes me think of the birth canal.

“I was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico, on the third anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki.”

So begins an article of mine published in the Des Moines Register on my 41st birthday, August 9, 1989. The text of the original article is included at the end here.

Today as I write this it is August 9, 2021, 32 years later, and three years after I published the update included below, covering much deeper insight gained from long years of reading, writing (hundreds of pages of journaling), and working in therapy as well as in my writing through a long standing, very painful history — only part of which was remembered when the original article was published.

By the time I completed the second version on this topic (below), I had arrived at a substantially different perspective compared to what I had in 1989.

In 2018 I published the Des Moines Register newspaper essay at the end of the longer, updated piece here, titled The Legacy of Nagasaki: Contradictions from my father’s past.

Medium’s curators chose not to promote it (as it has chosen with every single post of mine), and so very few people have connected with it, except for a few people outside of Medium — and therefore it has earned the grand sum of 7 cents. I believe it deserves wider reading.

And so, I add this introduction, solely intended to draw attention to the earlier piece, but still not expected to be broadly distributed by Medium or my readers. I’ve become a cynic about Medium.

Frankly I’m not expecting much improvement in attention. I suspect part of the problem might have been the title I used for the present version, and now I have more subscribers. Who knows what the future will bring now?

We shall see, shall we? Prove my “sad sack” perspective wrong.



Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.