On August 6, 1945, during World War II (1939-45), an American B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first deployed atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The explosion wiped out 90 percent of the city and immediately killed 80,000 people; tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure.
Today marks the 77th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. In the morning of august 6th 1945 most people of Hiroshima was going about doing what they normally did, on their way to school, work, shopping for groceries or just taking a walk in the sunshine that morning. at 8:15am the worlds first deployed atomic bomb detonated over the city centre and in less than a second around 80 000 people perished. And in the aftermath it is thought that 60 000 more died from radiation exposure and other injuries caused by the bomb. 3 days later another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki killing at least 70 000 people.
The survivours of the bomb have their own name, they are called “hibakusha” and very few survive to this day.
To visit Hiroshima while on our trip to Japan was something we felt we had to do. The city and the history we are told so many times at school and during documentaries on TV is burned into our collective psyche. We always visit sites of suffering and death with trepidation, it is never something to take lightly, the suffering of others.
We took the train to Hiroshima station, and took the tram to the birdge overlooking The Peace Memorial Park. And immediately on your left is the most iconic of buildings; the atomic dome. It was the only building near ground zero that was not completely destroyed, and now an icon of peace.
To walk around The Peace Memorial Park itself was a powerful, almost overwhelming feeling. We have like all other world citizens, grown up with the tales and pictures from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Both cities linked with the ultimate horrors of war. To see the Atomic Dome from the bridge across the river is soul crunching. Walking around the beautiful memorial park, with the cherry blossoms blowing like pink snow in the air, was something we will never forget. To walk past memorials, still with fresh flowers, there were ceremonies with wreaths being laid down still going on. At the children’s memorial a group of elderly women was being rolled in by wheelchairs to the monument, and they sat there crying, lamenting loss and pain for a full generation. Together we rang the peace gong on the grounds, hoping that history will not forget, that people will not forget, and that horrors like this will never be repeated. This experience was something beautiful, but also harrowing, and a place that should be seen by all that visit this area. Never have we been this close to world history, and felt it so raw.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park holds the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony on August 6th every year. Speeches by the Japanese Prime Minister, the Mayor of Hiroshima City, the representatives of local children are given, and then, a one-minute silence for the victims is observed at 8:15, the time of the explosion.
It seems like 75 years on people tend to forget the horrors of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the arms race we though was over, is still raging on. The quest for developing bombs, even testing atomic bombs, is still something the so called “great” nations are still contemplating and doing. Even thinking that atomic bombs are a necessity is madness. So today, give 1 minute to all those who were killed in Hiroshima.