Once upon a time the world gathered in lovely Brussels to celebrate peace, now the world unites again, this time in sorrow and support of the senseless terrorist attacks in Belgium.
In the spring and summer of 1958 Belgium welcomed some 50 nations to the first Worlds Fair since the end of Word War II. The Fair was a colorful event spreading a message full of boundless optimism, as bubbly as as a bottle of Coke, reflecting a new society characterized by confidence in it future.
The was to be the biggest Fair since the the N.Y. Worlds Fair of 1939 that celebrated the World of Tomorrow. But that world of tomorrow proved ominous – one filled with horror,war and nuclear destruction.
Thirteen years after those two Atomic blasts ended the war, the Brussels Expo would celebrate the rejuvenation of civilization from the destruction of war through the use of technology.
This first Worlds Fair of the Atomic Age, its lasting symbol would be the Atomium an enormous futuristic structure built to resemble an iron atom. This “a gigantic juggling act of silver spheres” arranged into a towering projection of an iron molecule, beckoned more than 40 million people to the Brussels Worlds Fair.
The majestic Atomium radiated the avowed theme of the fair “A New Humanism” dedicated to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to building better international relations.
That Fair that opened with such confidence in Brussels that April with a call for world peace and social progress, seems sadly poignant today; that optimism now shrouded in terror.