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.
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.
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.
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.
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!