Watching the atomic bomb blast as a POW near Nagasaki

No Japanese soldier or civilian was preparing to surrender that August.

Early on the morning of Aug. 9, from the POW camp where I was held some 30 miles across a bay, I saw the sky over Nagasaki change. It glowed red and the air turned warm against my skin.

Until then, red was the color of my subjugation. My Japanese guards were certain that red had a uniquely Japanese meaning. It wasn’t just the central color of their flag, it was viewed as emotionally representative of their pure spirit and sincerity. The red sky over Nagasaki ended those illusions.

At that moment, I made a bet with a friend that soon we would all be set free. I was right.