My emotional exploration of the Peace Memorial Park of Hiroshima

A-Bomb Dome
A-Bomb Dome the most striking building in the whole park
The river that runs through the center of the town and past the park
The river that runs through the center of the town and past the park

The whole world knows about the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 where as many as 140 000 people were killed. Since then, thousands more have died from injuries or illness attributed to the radiation exposure of the bomb. Each year a memorial ceremony is held on 6 August for those who died and the few who still survive as well as pray for the realization of everlasting world peace.

They built what I think is a magnificent Peace Memorial Park,not only to memorialize the victims, but also to establish the memory of nuclear horrors and advocate world peace. On 6 August they hold the annual peace memorial service in memory of the atom bomb victims. I attended this service a couple of years ago and had the chance to explore the whole memorial park.

 

There are a couple of monuments spread out in the park each with a sad story to accompany it.

Children’s Peace Monument
Children’s Peace Monument
Brightly covered origami paper cranes
Brightly covered origami paper cranes

The saddest monument for me is the Children’s Peace Monument, a statue dedicated to the memory of the children who died as a result of the bombing. The statue “Tower of a Thousand Cranes” is of a girl with outstretched arms holding a folded paper crane over her head. It was erected in the memory a Junior High School girl, Sadako Sasaki, who died of an A-bomb disease (leukemia). When Sadako became sick, she decided to fold a thousand cranes (a Japanese symbol of good luck and long life) in the hopes that they would bring her health back. When she died, Sadako’s classmates decided to build a statue in her memory. This was a reminder of how children still believe in miracles even when there is no hope. This story brought tears to my eyes and made my heart ache for all the children who died this way.

Thousands of brightly coloured cranes!
Thousands of brightly coloured cranes!
Display cases for all the origami cranes!
Display cases for all the origami cranes!
Brightly covered origami paper cranes
Brightly covered origami paper cranes

Nearby were thousands of brightly covered origami paper cranes that people bring daily to place next to the Sadako statue.

People from around the world fold paper cranes and send them to Hiroshima where they are placed near the statue in glass cases. Family and survivors all added brightly coloured streams of origami cranes to the collection that day.  I attended the free crane folding class held by students that day and added a few bright origami cranes of my own to the collection.

Love the different displays they make from the origami cranes
Love the different displays they make from the origami cranes
A-Bomb Dome right at the centre of the bomb
A-Bomb Dome right at the centre of the bomb

Closest structure to the hypo-center of the nuclear bomb
Closest structure to the hypo-center of the nuclear bomb

At one end of the large, green park was the atomic bomb dome also known as the A-Bomb Dome. It is only the skeleton of the building that remains and is a stark reminder that this place was once reduced to ashes. This was one of the few buildings that remained standing after the atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, although only the dome and some of the outer walls survived the blast. The skeletal ruins of the former Industrial Promotion Hall were the closest structure to the hypo-center of the nuclear bomb.

A stark reminder that this place was once reduced to ashes.
A stark reminder that this place was once reduced to ashes.

The cemetery right next to the A-Dome, marking the spot where the hospital stood
The cemetery right next to the A-Dome, marking the spot where the hospital stood

Most of the other city buildings were destroyed, along with an estimated 78,150 people who perished that day. After walking through the park and listening to all the horror stories that accompany the statues and memorials I was emotionally drained!!

I was disgusted at the horrors that we as humans inflict on each other and all the pain and destruction we cause.

I just wanted to sit in a corner and cry!

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19 comments

  1. when Hiroshima was hitted by atomic bomb Japanese army left Indonesia and Indonesia took this chance to prepare for its independence in the 16 following days

    but I agree that peace should be # 1

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  2. “Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out … and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel … And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands, and works for the universal brotherhood of man with his mouth.”
    – Mark Twain

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  3. I’ve always wanted to go to Hiroshima and someday I hope to make it there. Sometimes it’s good to go to these emotionally moving places so we can really remember, and feel, the pain and heartbreak of their history. I’ve been to the Holocaust Museum in D.C. and that is emotionally draining as well. I’m sure it’s the same as Auschwitz.

    I love the story about the girl and her paper cranes and the other children who keep her story alive. Your photos are beautiful too. 🙂

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  4. Sad and extremely sobering, places like this and the concentration camps in Europe serve to remind us of the atrocities man can commit and you would think that we would learn from these mistakes but still the horror and the violence continues.

    On a brighter note, the origami cranes are beautiful and the children who continue to make them provide hope for the future.

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    • Thanks, I agree! We should be reminded of what has happened and should not commit these horrors again…if only the world would listen and learn!
      I love the origami cranes, they are such a beautiful symbol of hope and peace!!

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