Hiroshima

Nineteen-Forty-Five
flames destroy Hiroshima
It will rise again

August 6, 1945, at 8:15am, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. About a mile from where the bomb was dropped lived a little girl named Sadako Sasaki. While many died some did survive, but not without consequence. Sadako was two years old and was blown out the window luckily her mother found her alive. In November of 1945 though Sadako developed swellings all over her body, then a year later, purple spots on her legs. She was then diagnosed with leukemia and on February 21, 1955 she was hospitalized and given one year to live. A friend reminded her during a hospital visit of an ancient Japanese story that promises a wish to anyone who folds 1,000 paper cranes. Sadako’s wish was to live. She fell short of her goal of 1,000 and made 644 cranes before dying. After her death her friends finished the last of them and buried the 1,000 paper cranes with her. People still bring paper cranes to the peace park. Last year the Wartburg Wind Ensemble made 1,000 paper cranes and sent them to the Peace Park during their tour.

This is just one story about the after effects of the atom bomb being dropped on Hiroshima that we learned about today while visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. As you make your way through the museum one of the first things you see is a watch that is stopped at exactly 8:15 and next to it is a quote, “A dragonfly flitted in front of me and stopped on a fence. I stood up, took my cap in my hands, and was about to catch the dragonfly when….” This day started out like any other day. Normal. The weather was good, people were going about their lives like normal and within seconds of the bomb’s explosion, which was 600 meters above the ground, an almost two mile radis had been completely destroyed. Of the 90,000 buildings that once stood only 28,000 remained. Between 60,000 and 80,000 people were killed instantly. The current death toll is between 150,00 and 200,000 people due to the radiation after effects.

The museum is filled with dioramas and artifacts. The dioramas give a visual as to what happened to the city and the artifacts brings those dioramas to life. Many artifacts have been donated along with stories. For example, one of the artifacts was a lunch box with ash in it. It had belonged to a school boy. After the bomb detonated a mother went looking for her son and found a body clutching the lunchbox to his stomach. The contents of the lunch box were reduced to ash and the boy was dead.

While the museum holds many horrific things there is still hope. Next to the museum is the Peace Park, the A-bomb Dome, and the Peace Flame. While many buildings have been destroyed the A-bomb Dome is a building that was left partially standing and is now a reminder of what has happened here. The Peace park holds several “Peace Bells” that people are encouraged to ring for world peace. One of the most amazing things though is the Peace flame which will burn until all nuclear weapons have been destroyed. Today Hiroshima is a strong leader in abolishing nuclear weapons throughout the world. They have written over 600 protest letters to countries who continue research and development of nuclear weapons.

We are all very grateful for the opportunity to have visited these places today. It gives one a new perpective on history and life.

Six hundred meters,
A mini sun was born here,
Please do not repeat.

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