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Hiroshima and a Thousand Origami Cranes..

sunny 25 °C

The check-out girl at the corner store bows, smiles, and wishes us “Good morning”, then bows again and says, “Goodbye” as we leave. The train conductor bows to all as he enters each carriage and turns to bow again as he departs. Even the shelf-filler at the supermarket stops her empty trolley at the stockroom door to turn and gracefully bow to us as she leaves. And so it seems inconceivable to us that the forebearers of these incredibly polite, immensely helpful, and unbelievably kind and generous people, could have instigated one of the most devastating conflicts in human history…
Hiroshima today is a vibrant modern city full of bright young people. It has wide tree lined boulevards; bustling pedestrian arcades; upscale shopping malls and smart office towers, but it wasn’t always this way. Until 8.15 am on Monday August 6, 1945 Hiroshima was a sleepy city of picturesque wooden houses lining narrow lanes. It was far from the major industrial hubs and beyond the normal range of the U.S. bombers, so no one flinched when three B29s flew high over the city that summer morning and Col. Paul Tibbets dropped an atom bomb from the plane that he had proudly named after his mother, the Enola Gay. But when the mushroom cloud cleared and the dust settled this is all that remained of Hiroshima…
No one knows how many died that day, or three days later when the horror was repeated in Nagasaki. Tens of thousands were instantly vaporised by the 4,000 degree C heatwave and left nothing but shadows on the pavements and some dust in the wind, while as many as two hundred thousand died later of burns, wounds and radiation. This is the memorial where the names of all known victims are enshrined…
Only one news reporter survived, but after taking five photographs he was so traumatised by the hellish scene that he put his camera away. However, apart from the A Bomb Dome which has been left as a perpetual reminder, perhaps the most moving symbol of that terrible event is the statue dedicated to the many thousands of children who died then and in the following months and years.

The statue was inspired by the story of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who contracted leukemia from the radiation and spent her dying years folding thousands of origami cranes in the hope that they would make her well. She died, but her story lives on, and every year children throughout the world make origami cranes in memory of all those who perished on that lovely sunny morning in Hiroshima.

To plagiarise Winston Churchill, ‘If the world and its humankind survives ten thousand years they will still say, “This was their most dreadful hour.”’

Posted by Hawkson 22:42 Archived in Japan

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I am sitting here at 4:30 am with tears in my eyes once again. On that day in Vancouver I was 18 and people didn't know what had happened in Japan, they were happy that the war was over and hugging people they didn't know in the streets. I had just graduated from high school and got my first job that day. And people never seem to learn as both Harper and Obama want to bomb Iraq yet again. When will they ever learn as the song goes. Love, Jean.

by Jean McLaren

When will the world learn that peace is better than war. Hope you folks are safe from the tsunami.

by Jenna

When I first went to Japan, you needed a Japanese "sponsor" to get a visa to extend a stay as a non-tourist and study Japanese. My sponsor was a Hiroshima family who I often went to stay with. My bedroom looked out onto the mouth of the river where thousands of dying people had sought relief from burns. It was very sobering to imagine that. So much so that I have never been able to bear the thought of entering the museum. The family ran a love hotel, but that is another and more amusing story. Stay dry.

by Tom

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