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kiting, diving, trippin' I ain't never been lost, just confused for a few days - Daniel Boone

Yet another memorial to madness

JAPAN | Sunday, 21 September 2008 | Views [955] | Comments [4]

A watch found sowing the time of the blast says it all

A watch found sowing the time of the blast says it all

Hiroshima is well known as the city where the first Atomic bomb was dropped but it isn't until you visit the site and see some of the preserved ruins that you can get a real feel for what these people went through.

Listening to the Last Post at dawn in Anzac Cove was eerie, and walking the trails where the trenches had been dug for soldiers to fight soldiers was full of realisation of what those guys went through nearly ninety years ago.

But that was soldiers fighting soldiers !

This was a bomb dropped on a city that, while a garrison city, killed a lot more civilians in the space of seconds and minutes than it did military people capable of fighting back.

There are all the usual stories of pain, suffering and loss that you'll hear from most war torn places. But there are the extra ones here; where the Elementary school was emptied of children because of the fear of air attack only, for most, to return as orphans; the immediate and immense fire; the injuries; etc, etc.

But with this mess, people who had survived the initial blast, fireball and destruction weren't necessarily on the road to recovery because the bomb exposed anyone in a two kilometer radius of the blast centre, and whoever was unlucky enough to be downwind, or under a shower of black rain, to radiation that killed over 140 000 in the next twelve months. In Japan the people who were there to witness it are called hibakusha.

There are all sorts of interesting facts on display regarding the global distribution of nuclear warheads, the fact that only three countries voted for, while one hundred and seventy voted against, the abolition of nuclear warheads, and the extensive trials and then analysis of the results, especially by the US, of Hiroshima and Nagasake.

It didn't seem right to be taking photos of the burnt and torn children's clothes, or the twisted and melted glass bottles, or the stone step that had the 'shadow' of someone melted in to it when the heat seared all around them, or the shards of glass embedded in a wall on display. There would be plenty to find on the web if you needed to see it.

History has shown that the Japanese army was easier to handle if they were in your sights, rather than running the camp our soldiers were imprisoned in, but, mostly (I know there are exceptions), that is military and military. These were predominantly civilians living in traditional timber framed and paper walled houses that didn't stand much chance when the earth turned to around 3000 to 4000 degrees C the instant the bomb detonated 600m above their homes. The fireball was reported to have risen 12 kms above the city, burned anything flammable for two thousand metres and knocked what was left down with some massive amount of air pressure from the blast that was measured in tons per foot. 

There were some surprises in the memorial as well though, the main one for me was the admission for all to see of the (their words) "massacre of over 100 000 Chinese in Nanking during the Sino Japanese war". This is still something a lot of Chinese feel very strongly about, although they claim the figure is around three times as much.

So long as the 'Super' powers are run by paranoid egotists, there is always the chance of seeing the same madness the world saw at 8:15 on the sixth of August just before the end of WW2.

Lest We Forget.

Tags: a bomb, memorial, war




It seems you have really been touched by your visit to Hiroshima. Your words have certainly brought tears to my eyes and made me look back at that time - such a tragic waste of innocent lives. Can't really say anything else - you've really stirred the emotions - yes I know, I'm a softie, but this is written with such warmth!

  Cath Sep 23, 2008 5:53 AM


You got it in one yet again son . same comment as on your Galipoli page.
The only justification for the use of the US Arms Industries latest "toy" was that the Japanese Army refused to surrender or even consider it so they needed to be frightened into it and then it took Nagasaki to be bombed as well.
Politicians playing the ultimate adrenalin game -- with other peoples lives. YUK!

   Dad Sep 23, 2008 2:10 PM


Gary - this is such an evocative piece of writing. You have a wonderful "feel" for people and places. I am proud of you. love Barb

  barbara howchin Sep 24, 2008 9:00 PM


A very moving observation. I will never believe that the actions were justified, just as I don't believe that the bombing in Europe and UK could be justified.
You noted that at Gallipoli it was soldier vs soldier and I hadn't considered the significance of that until you made such valid comment.

  Trish Sep 24, 2008 9:07 PM

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