THOUGHTS ON HIROSHIMA
(Sara) An important stop in Japan for me was Hiroshima. I wanted to see first hand the city that emerged from total destruction to become the City of Peace for the world. We arrived in Hiroshima late in the evening and decided to get a nice dinner and a good night’s sleep for the next morning. We awoke on a grey, drizzly day; it seemed somewhat befitting of the tour that we were about to take. We walked over to the south end of Peace Park, the park that now lays on the spot of ground zero for the A-bomb. We started our walk through the park, passing numerous statues and memorials of the happenings of August 6th, 1945. We came upon what they now call the A-Dome. This building was ground zero for the a-bomb. It somehow managed to stay erect as it was exactly under the spot the bomb detonated, and was ‘spared’ the complete destruction. Twisted metal and broken bricks now comprise this remnant of that building, now left standing as a sole remnant in remembrance of that day. We continued our walk and came upon the Bell Tower memorial. I looked at the clock and suddenly got a small chill. It was 8:15am precisely, precisely the time the A-bomb was detonated over Hiroshima. Seconds later, the clock played a beautiful melody. The inscription on the stone stated that the bell rings every morning at 8:15 to symbolize the need for Peace in the world. We continued our walk around the park and then into the Museum. The walk though the museum continued to be a somber stroll, there were pictures after pictures of before and after photographs. There were survivor depictions of the events and their searched for family members. All said, 140,000 people died as a result of the bombing of Hiroshima.
For me, I could not help but feel some sort of shame and guilt. The only words that encircled within my head were “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” I somehow felt like I needed to once again apologize for the atrocities of war which my country imposed upon these people and their families. It was somewhat strange to be visiting the site of such destruction that was caused by my country. I am glad that it is now what we call history, though the world still seems to be dealing with threats of nuclear wars. I can only hope that the words of Peace that Hiroshima still spreads to this day are heard all over the world and for this history not to repeat itself.
(Todd) I didn’t feel as much guilt as Sara, but I was still a little stunned. Some of the images that really hit me were some of the watches on display that the rescue workers found. They were shattered and burned, and the time on all of them was 8:15.
In the museum, there was another display of letters that the mayor of Hiroshima sent to world leaders whenever they were contemplating a nuclear weapons test. There must have been 200 letters that pleaded with these leaders to halt all weapons advancements. All said, I don’t think anyone has forgotten, but even with our memories of Hiroshima, there will still be nuclear weapons regardless of consequence.