We decided that since this might be our only chance we should visit Hiroshima. There is a large museum that was very crowded (on a Monday). I think the most interesting exhibit was the one pictured here that shows the fireball over Hiroshima and the area that it devastated.
I learned that it happened because the Japanese did not agree to a peace treaty to end WWII and so we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima (I think-and hope-we did not realize the kind of devastation it would have on civilians) and still Japan would not agree, so we dropped one on Nagashima also.
I also learned that because of WWII schools were closed and lots of middle school students were helping with demolishing buildings to create fire lanes because of the war effort. Most of the students were not found because they were close to the epicenter and just turned to ashes. The museum showed a lot of artifacts that were found by family members who searched through the ashes. There were a few shoes, torn clothes, and other items.
I think one of the most tragic things is that the bomb did not only damage and kill that day, but it has had an effect on the families who were there since then. Many suffered cancer several years after the bomb and there were children born with defects. There were so many families who lost relatives also.
|This is a small marker and monument honoring all of the students that were killed.|
The museum is in a park with several other exhibits. There is a Peace Memorial for the Atomic Bomb Victims which lists the names of all known casualties on a wall and also has a really interesting Victim’s Information area where you can see pictures and more information about each individual or search for a relative or someone you know who perished. There is a slideshow that rotates all of the people and several computers where you can put in a name and search for an individual.
An important part of the park is one building that is left where you can see the kind of destruction the bomb caused.
Stories of individuals were emphasized. There were exhibits in several places where you could play video of a survivor telling their story. I was glad that they were videotaped because I bet many of those people are not around anymore even if they lived to a ripe old age. There are also regular sessions where a survivor talks in person with a group about their experience. This article about who will tell the story after all of the survivers are gone is interesting.\
There is also a monument with paper cranes dedicated to Sadako whose true story is that she was a survivor of the original blast, but died of cancer when she was 14. She was in the hospital and folded cranes because of a story that if you folded 1000 cranes you would get better. She did not make it to 1000, but she has inspired people from all over the world by her life and story.
In spite of Hiroshima being remembered for the devastation of the Atomic Bomb it has become a very active city. We went out looking for food on our first evening and were amazed by the streets and streets with huge flashing lights and all of the people walking about. Granted, we were no,t staying in a normal neighborhood, but a hotel near the exhibit, but still you would never know what had happened except for the Museum and park.
If you are interested in signing a petition supporting the end of Nuclear Weapons by 2020 here is a link to the Mayors for Peace website. The organization was started in 1982 by then Mayor Takeshi Araki of Hiroshima. Later the mayor of Nagashima and many other mayors around the world have joined.