On August 6, 1945 the U.S. bomber Enola Gay dropped the first ever Atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Today, the re-assembled Boeing B-29 Superfortress remains a powerful symbol of the bombing as it sits on display at the U.S. National Air and Space Museum.
In the video above, the CBC’s Meagan Fitzpatrick gets a tour of the Enola Gay at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia — an offshoot of the Washington museum.
At the time of its mission, the Enola Gay was among the most sophisticated, propeller-driven bombers in the sky during the Second World War, according to the Smithsonian. The plane was further modified to carry the atomic bomb — dubbed “Little Boy” — which was dropped from the front bomb bay onto the heart of Hiroshima during the mission.
Inside the window-covered nose of the plane, you can see where pilot Paul Tibbets and bombardier Tom Ferebee sat during Special Mission No. 13. Tibbets, a 30-year-old colonel at the time of the bombing, named the bomber after his mother.
The plane’s navigator and last surviving member of the crew, Theodore Van Kirk, died last week at the age of 93.
Before his death, Van Kirk told the Associated Press that while the mission went perfectly, and that he believed the bombing which killed some 140,000 people actually saved lives in the long run, he felt slightly conflicted.
“I personally think there shouldn't be any atomic bombs in the world — I'd like to see them all abolished,” Van Kirk said.