(U.S. Air Force/Associated Press/Photo illustration by Task & Purpose)

Early in the morning of August 6, 1945, a U.S. Air Force B29 bomber, the Enola Gay, took off from the its base in Tinian, near Guam, and headed for the city of Hiroshima in southern Japan.

It was carrying a 9,700 top-secret bomb named Little Boy. Its pilot was Col. Paul W. Tibbets Jr., who led a crew of 12 men on a mission that would change the history of the world.

The plane had been named by Tibbets after his mother.

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As a kid, I spent a lot of time at the beach with my grandparents in Ocean City, New Jersey. I have fond memories, many of them of my grandfather humming something while working or cooking. Once I asked him what song he was singing, and he answered “the Air Corps song.”

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