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Hiroshima bounced back gracefully

NETHERLANDS | Tuesday, 5 April 2011 | Views [1331] | Comments [1]

Hiroshima. August 6th. It’s 8.15 am in the year of 1945. Not a cloud in the sky. People are ready to start their day. Suddenly…the city is shaken up by a tremendous explosion, followed by an intense blaze of fire that destroys everything – and that means everything – within a range of 2 kilometers and much more over longer distances. The American army just dropped the first atomic bomb used in a war.

The Peace Memorial Park

We’re at the end of our visit to the Peace Memorial Museum. This museum is part of the Peace Memorial Park, located at ‘ground zero’. The park is dedicated to the legacy of this first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack. Here, every year, the memory of all victims of the Hiroshima and the Nagasaki atomic bombing are officially honoured.

The ‘A-Bomb’ Dome
We started our day at the Peace Monument, also called the ‘A-Bomb’ dome. The ruins of the only building in the centre of the explosion – 160 meters away – that partly survived. The building was designed by a Czech architect, completed in 1915 and was called ‘ The Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall’.

The 'A-bomb' Dome

Some locals wanted it torn down to not needlessly be reminded, while others wanted to preserve it as a memorial. Hiroshima city decided it should be preserved. It became a memorial building.

Children’s Peace Monument
Sadako Sasaki is only a child when the bomb hits Hiroshima. Like many other victims, she has hope on surviving. She expresses her hope by folding 1,000 paper cranes. She believes that if she would do that, she would be cured. But Sadako Sasaki dies from the radiation.

The Children’s Peace Monument is a statue dedicated to the memory of the children who died as a result of the bombing. It shows a girl with outstretched arms and a folded paper crane above her. The statue is based on the true story of Sadako Sasaki.

The monument is surrounded by numerous folded cranes, made by people from around the world (mostly children) that send them to Hiroshima.

The Memorial Cenotaph

Memorial places
Before we entered the museum, we silently strolled along other memorial places in this beautiful park. A park that breathes loss, peace and quiet, respect, strength and compassion. There is the Memorial Cenotaph, the Peace Flame, the Hiroshima Pond of Peace and the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall, to name a few.

Peace Memorial Museum
Being inside the museum, reading all the information and seeing all the photographs of terrible scenes is what silences us the most. I especially get emotional looking at all the pictures of the people, burned. And the story of Sadako Sasaki is heartbreaking.

By now, we leave the museum and talk about how honest it shows the history behind the atomic bomb, also by showing Japans acts during WWII, and how beautiful it is honoured. We are happy to have seen Hiroshima. A city that has bounced back gracefully from this horrifying event on August 6th. The day the sky was blue.

PS: the tramcars of Hiroshima are the pride of the city and are seen as its symbol. Right after the disaster, they were the first to start running again to transport people to hospitals.

Tags: atomic bomb, hiroshima, japan, peace memorial park

Comments

1

When I was in Japan I was lucky enough to visit this memorial as well. It's such a beautiful place to reflect and remember all those affected. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  megh05 Apr 5, 2011 7:33 AM

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