... some of each
If anything good can be said about our only month without a holiday, I will try. Research reveals it was named after Emperor Augustine in 8 B.C. Previously, it was the sixth month and named after Septilis but revised by Gregory XIII ... one of sixteen popes so named. And you thought Bush I and Bush II was confusing.
It was Gregory XIII who originated the calendar we use. The eighth month was named in honor of Emperor Augustus. It also honored Julius Caesar, for whom July was named, by swiping a day from February to make July and August the same length of 31 days each.
Probably the most awesome event occurring in August was the dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. This was followed three days later by the second atomic bomb used over Nagasaki. The first was composed of uranium-235, the second, of plutonium-239... in case you wish to know. Each caused unbelievably widespread destruction and brought the Japanese aggressors to their knees in surrender, officially August 14, 1945.
It should be noted that, although Tokyo was bombed many times, our Army Air Corps was instructed to avoid any damage to the Emperor's Palace in a walled estate in Tokyo. The U.S. wanted to destroy Japanese militarism, not its culture and religion.
Although my primary duty was to test aircraft, I welcomed the opportunity to fly cargo to our occupying troops in Japan. It is about 1600 miles from Guam by way of the stop for refueling at Iwo Jima. (21,000 U.S. casualties in the Battle of Iwo Jima, but its strategic location meant P-51 fighter planes could meet the B-29 bombers coming from Guam, Saipan and Tinian. With the use of external wing tanks, the P-51s were able to escort the bombers to Tokyo and make it back to Iwo Jima).
My first trip to Japan was in early September, 1945 when I piloted a C-46, loaded with cargo, to Japan via Iwo Jima. We had to land at Atsugi Airport because airports in Tokyo were bombed out of existence. Our crew was able to visit Tokyo, see the destruction and view the unscathed estate of the Emperor from outside the walls.
We were quite apprehensive about how we would be accepted and donned our .45 pistols. (Issued to pilots, but we had not fired them in years... in fact, we had no ammo... but it looked impressive). The Japanese we encountered were surprisingly friendly, simply begging for "cigaretto" and "chocoletto." I could greet them with only a smile, having no chocolate and being a cigar smoker. Cigarettes were five cents per pack, but cigars, if one could find any, were expensive.
Another awesome event happened to me in August, 1948. I was married to the most beautiful gal in town, click here. but more than that she was my best companion and mother of our seven sons, born from June '49 to August '59. Awfully awesome and august!
August 4, 2006