HIGHLAND PARK, NJ—On August 6, 1945, the American military dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, causing the first of two devastating atomic explosions in Japan that week.
In total, the two bombings killed well over 100,000 Japanese civilians, perhaps as many as 250,000. Nuclear weapons had never been used in warfare previously, and never have been since.
Sixty-nine years later, Mark Laurano, a Highland Park realtor, business owner and artist invited the public to join in commemorating the loss of life that occurred with the unveiling of his newest work of sculpture entitled “Noiseless Flash.”
Laurano was inspired to make the sculpture by a book he read as a child by John Hersey. Titled “Hiroshima,” the book chronicles the stories of six people who survived the flash of the atomic bomb.
“It changed everything for me,” Laurano said of the book, “my spirituality, my sense of non-violence.”
Hersey’s short book was originally published in The New Yorker, repeatedly refering to the atomic bomb as a “noiseless flash,” and describing it as yellow in appearance.
The images and stories in the book conjured up so much emotion for Laurano, that he felt compelled to visually represent it all these years later.
“I read the book when I was nine… I just needed to get the sculpture out of me.”
The abstract sculpture is made out of metal, bamboo, and wood.
The top is yellow, and the middle is a metal mass, resembling the shape of the mushroom cloud. Laurano told New Brunswick Today that he wanted it to be un-ostentatious to reflect the simplicity and directness of Hersey’s writing.
The sculpture was unveiled on August 6 behind the office of Laurano’s real estate agency. At 8:16 am, the time of the bombing on the same day in 1945, Laurano asked everyone present to pause for a moment of silence.
“We are asking people all over the world to hold that moment most dear,” Laurano said, “It needs to be remembered so it never happens again.”
The “Noiseless Flash” sculpture will be on permanent public display behind Laurano’s office at 822 Raritan Avenue in Highland Park.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.