The first bomb ever to be dropped on the United States of America was dropped in Oregon. It was a stealth mission, carried out by a young Japanese pilot named Nobuo Fujita on the morning of September 9th, 1942. The incendiary bombs Fujita dropped into the remote redwood forest twenty miles east of the town of Brookings, Oregon were intended to start massive forest fires drawing American attention and troops away from the military efforts in the Pacific Theatre. Fujita completed his mission, the bombs detonated, but the fires never took. The flames were discovered and successfully extinguished later the same morning by the forest service.
Twenty years later the pilot Nobuo Fujita, who had survived the war and was leading a civilian life back in Japan, returned to the town of Brookings as a guest to the town’s annual Azalea Festival. Since the wartime Fujita had become a pacifist and sought amends for his acts. He brought with him his family's 400-year-old samurai sword, the same sword he had carried with him in the cockpit of his plane during the bombing mission. In a public ceremony he gifted the sword to the town as a gesture of personal and international peacemaking.
This reconciliatory act became the foundation of an ongoing relationship between Fujita and the town of Brookings. In the 1990’s, before his death, he gifted the Chetco Public Library in Brookings $1000 of his own money with the request that the funds be used to create a collection of children’s books about other cultures. His hopes were that these books would encourage greater cross-cultural understanding and, perhaps, be the seed for a peaceful future.