Today at the Centralville Veteran’s Park in Lowell, a new monument was unveiled in honor of Normand Brissette of Lowell who died in the atomic bomb blast at Hiroshima. A survivor of that blast, Shigeaki Mori, who was 8 at the time of the explosion, devoted his life to uncovering and preserving the stories of Brissette and the eleven other Americans who died with him. Mr. Mori and his wife came to Lowell today to help dedicate the monument. Below are some photos from today’s ceremony, followed by some photos of Normand Brissette.
The Story of Normand Brissette
Enlisting in the Navy in at age 17, Normand Brissette (1926-1945) became a gunner/radio operator on a SB2C Helldiver flying from the carrier Ticonderoga. On July 28, 1945, his plane, piloted by Lt. Raymond Porter, was shot down off the coast of Japan. Both survived and were imprisoned with ten other American flyers at the Hiroshima police station where they remained until August 6, 1945, when the Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb less than a kilometer away. All but Brissette and one other died instantly. Ten days later, the newly captured crew of a downed B-29 were imprisoned with Brissette and the other survivor who were both gravely ill from radiation poisoning. Both died the next day but the B-29 crew survived to relay their story. Brissette and the 11 other aviators are now memorialized by a plaque erected by the city of Hiroshima.