Hiroshima

Aug. 6 was the 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

Aug. 6 was the 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima, Japan where the people now want their city to be known as the City of Peace. I visited ground zero a number of years ago and joined in a peace march to symbolize this city’s plea for everlasting peace.

However at this time, today, the Japanese parliament is being encouraged to rebuild its military force. The Bill to do so has already passed the first stage in what they call Lower Parliament. The global arms industry must be overjoyed with this news. And certainly it will come to pass into law.

You see, the reason given is what is happening (skirmishes) in the South China Sea. But it doesn’t really matter. Wars will come and go until humankind realizes it’s all about money and sending young men and women off to do the dirty work and die or get maimed in the process. So, why not young Japanese people to throw into the so-called “Allied” pot of war?

And as President Obama offers the hand of peace toward Iran, we hear others in the U.S. calling for the U.S. military to bomb, bomb and bomb some more in Iran. This, after they did just that to Iraq. Few people, I’m sure, realize that the arms movement brings in more money to their corporate masters than any other industry.

My visit to the Peace Memorial Park in the heart of Hiroshima, the first city on earth to have suffered the effects of atomic bombing, began early in the day. Of interest in the park is the Peace Memorial Museum, the Memorial Cenotaph, the children’s peace bell and a children’s memorial stone with the V sign carved at the top and the Flame of Peace.

Inside the museum numerous graphic exhibits conveyed the stark reality the atomic bomb (dropped by the Americans to bring about peace) had on this unsuspecting city. A large area set in the floor displays the city of Hiroshima before the bomb was dropped. Close by is another similar display of Hiroshima after the bomb — complete devastation.

Those who survived remember the bomb as a huge flash of light that signalled something terrible had happened. From that second on came such horrible devastation upon humankind amidst the annihilation of everything that stood within the radius of the bomb.

Men, women, old and young died instantly. Perhaps they were the lucky ones.

Those who were burned and maimed became very sick from the radiation. Thousands of suffering people died in the weeks and years that followed.

At the museum, there is a little boy’s tricycle twisted and burned. The trike’s three-year-old owner died instantly and when his father found his remains he buried them along with the trike in his front yard. Forty years passed before his family retrieved his remains and carried them to the family plot where he was reburied with ceremony.

There is a cement step where one can actually see the shadow of the woman who was sitting there waiting for the bank doors to open. In less than a second she was annihilated.

Further along there are waxed models of a mother and daughter standing together in shock with burned skin hanging from their limbs. Later on the day that the bomb was dropped the black rains fell (poisoned by radiation); thirsty survivors drank what they could only to die later. While touring the museum, it seemed I had viewed from the sidelines the worst that has happened to humanity.

Later I found my way to the Peace Plaza where many people committed to peace were gathering. Some were working on signs all saying the same thing in various ways: NO TO WAR! YES TO PEACE!

 

Gloria Cope

Chemainus