Sunday, December 11, 2016

Hiroshima, Japan

At first, Hiroshima looks like any large Japanese city. But as you get further downtown and closer to where the atomic bomb exploded, you realize that all the buildings look about the same age. That's because on August 6th, 1945 a 3 metre bomb obliterated the city:

Everything within a 2 km radius of the atomic bomb explosion was obliterated instantly, crushed to rubble and burned except one building:

One building survived:

This was the only structure standing after the bomb hit. It was decided to keep the structure standing as a testament to the damage caused. It is now called the Atomic Bomb Dome building.

When you walk beside this structure, there is quiet and you sense visitors are deep in thought. The building sits by a large park where there are further dedications to one of the most dramatic moments in history:

There is also a Peace Memorial Museum at the entrance of the park that has personal stories in reference to Aug. 6th, 1945. One is about a 3 year old boy and his bike:

Shin loved to ride this tricycle. That morning, he was riding in front of his house when, in a sudden flash, he and his tricycle were badly burned. He died that night. His father felt he was too young to be buried in the family grave away from home, and thinking he could still play with the tricycle, he buried Shin with the tricycle in the backyard. In the summer of 1985, forty years later, his father dug up Shin's remains and transferred them to the family grave. This tricycle, Shin's best friend, was donated to the Peace Memorial Museum.

What is not well known (at least to us)- that morning there were 8,600 children in seventh and eighth grade- in the bomb target on a school work program of which 8,300 died. There were also 20,000 forced Korean workers working in military factories where the bomb exploded and perished.

In all, 200,000 died and a 150,000 more were physically impacted by radiation, burns, shrapnel or other afflictions. 

Lest we forget.

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