Saturday, May 15, 2010

8:15 am -- August 6, 1945

Our last stop on our trip before heading back to Osaka was to see Hiroshima. Jason and I had really struggled with whether or not we would go. I didn't want to see what had happened and feel the pain and guilt. Maybe part of me felt like if I didn't see it, it would not be real.

In the end, we decided that we should go. I am certain I won't every forget what I saw and read while going through the Hiroshima Peace Park & Museum.

Japan had been given the chance to surrender a few days earlier and had declined. All night, the night before the bomb was dropped there were air raid sirens going off throughout Hiroshima, but at 8 am that morning the all-clear siren was given. People went outside on their way to work and children went to school. The devestation of the bomb when it was dropped 15 minutes later was horrendous and with so many outside, the carnage was great. The museum had photos of people with their skin literally dripping off their bodies and the tattered remains of children's school uniforms which had been burned off their bodies by the blast. Except for a few buildings, the city was flattened.

The focus of the museum was to simply tell Hiroshima's story and to promote peace; to put an end to nuclear bombs. I was surprised by the fact that it did not feel like blame being placed and by the candidness with which Japan told their own history against their varied enemies leading up to and including WWII.

Today, Hiroshima is a bustling city. We read that within three days of the bomb, the city had one of their street cars running again. Experts had said nothing would grow in this place for 70 years, and yet green grass was growing by the following Spring. A single building, the A-bomb Dome and the extensive Peace Park are the only visible reminders of what happened 65 years ago.

What the building had looked like prior to the bomb.

Our bullet train back to Osaka.

A final picture to end our Japan journey -- these beautiful Dogwood trees were blooming everywhere we went.


Will said...

Love the pictures of the place! Glad you guys decided to go. I still remember reading a book during middle school about the bombing of Hiroshima. It's such a sad event. It speaks volumes about the character of the country when they create a place to promote peace instead of focusing on revenge.

Molly W. said...

wow, truly amazing.

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