Kei Ito was a boy when his grandfather died, so his memories of the old man seem like fleeting images on a snowy TV screen: the electric organ he played, the travel photos he kept, the sugar he ladled into his coffee.
But one thing stands out in his mind — the way Takeshi Ito described the formative event of his life, the detonation of the nuclear bomb “Little Boy” over his hometown of Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945.
“He said it was like thousands of suns lighting up the sky,” Ito says. “I’ve been trying to sort out what it means ever since.”
Andrew Paul Keiper also has a family link to Hiroshima. His maternal grandfather, an American engineer named Lovell Cardenas,...