It’s not uncommon for a grandchild to assist in healing a grandparent’s painful past. It could be re-establishing an old relationship, locating missing documents, or even embarking on a diplomatic mission on behalf of a deceased grandparent.

For example, take Clifton Truman Daniel, President Harry S. Truman’s grandson. He visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not to apologize for his grandfather’s atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, but to be an ambassador, of sorts, of reconciliation and healing.

Photo credit: Matthew M. Burke/Stars and Stripes

Understandably, anger remains in Japan, and some Americans believe that Truman may have had other options. However, there are American service members who believe lives were spared as a result of the bombing, and point out that twelve Americans were killed in the bombing as well.

During Daniel’s visit, he was presented with a small plastic bag containing tree seeds which had fallen from trees which had surviving the bombing, to be planted around the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri. A three-term former mayor of Hiroshima subsequently visited the Truman Library.

Daniel plans on writing a book detailing the bombings, his grandfather’s rationale for them, and how survivors moved forward.

If discord exists in your family due to a historical event in which a senior family member – living or deceased – played a part, you have an opportunity to research the backstory leading up to the event, which may have impacted ultimate decisions. Presenting it from an objective point of view has the potential of healing generations, and allowing the future to move forward.