August 6, 1945.

No one needs reminding of what happened on this date. It is a moment in history known all around the world. An eternally memorable moment.

“A dragonfly flitted in front of me and stopped on a fence. I stood up, took my cap in my hands, and was about to catch the dragonfly when……”

August 6, 1945.

On this day, at 8:15am, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Japan’s city of Hiroshima. An American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, dropped the world’s first atomic bomb “Little Boy” that exploded 2,000ft. above the city, unleashing the equivalent of 12,500 tons of TNT.  The mission was said to have gone smoothly in every aspect- the weather was good, the crew performed well, and the equipment functioned as expected. But no one could have expected what the damage would be. This bomb left Hiroshima in a great cloud of smoke, burning to ruins, taking tens of thousands of lives. An entire city was destroyed beyond recognition.

The Japanese have built a Memorial Museum and Peace Park in Hiroshima to remind the world of what happens when nuclear weapons are used and the devastation they bring to one’s country and the effects on its people. Most importantly, it signifies to world that nuclear weapons should be abolished. The Memorial Museum contains historical information, beginning from what Hiroshima was like before the war, why Hiroshima was chosen to be bombed, the effects on Hiroshima and its people when it was bombed, stats on the atomic bomb, and the recovery of Hiroshima after the bomb and many years to follow. Many graphic photos and items recovered from this devastating tragedy are displayed throughout the museum. Please note that some of the photos I have included here are not for the faint-hearted, but I felt that they truly conveyed some of the horrific damage that was done to this city and its people and therefore, were the best to share.

Every year on August 6, the city of Hiroshima prays for the peaceful repose of the A-bomb victims and issues a call for the abolition of nuclear weapons and the realization of lasting world peace during its Peace Memorial Ceremony held before the Cenotaph for the A-bomb victims. The mayor of Hiroshima announces his Peace Declaration to the world and young representatives of the next generation read a Commitment to Peace, followed by the release of doves. This event began with a Peace Festival in 1947. Initially, attended by 3,000 people, it has grown with the nuclear abolition movement and general yearning for peace. In recent years, this ceremony is attended by more than 50,000 people from around the world.

Hiroshima Memorial Museum

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The set up of the first part of the museum. (Displaying information on Hiroshima before the dropping of the atomic bomb: living conditions, city facts, etc.)
The informational layout portion of the museum.

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The letter to U.S President Roosevelt over Einstein’s signature urging research into a new type of bomb (replica). August 2, 1939.
Why Hiroshima?
Why Hiroshima?
The A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima was about 3 meters long & weighed about 4 tons. Called
The A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima was about 3 meters long & weighed about 4 tons. Called “Thin Man” at first because of its long, thin design, when the actual bomb turned out to be shorter, the nickname changed to “Little Boy.” (The above model is the actual size!)

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Mushroom cloud.
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Exploring the world of nuclear weapons.
Principles of atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs.
Principles of atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs.

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Nuclear Globe- depicting how many nuclear weapons are in each country around the world.
Nuclear Globe- depicting how many nuclear weapons are in each country around the world.
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The effects of heat and blast from the A-bomb.
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Drawing of the A-bomb on Hiroshima by a survivor.
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Photos of the effects of radiation/burning and clothing found.
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Human shadow left etched in the stone from the blast.
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Tricycle that was exposed during the explosion.

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Graphic image of wax figurines showing what people looked like when they were hit by the bomb. Up close the emotions of burning, pain, and agony were very apparent!

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A-bomb drawing by survivor
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Knick-knacks found from that time.
Nails and skin left by a junior high student.
Nails and skin left by a junior high student.
Locks of hair.
Locks of hair.
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Exposed sand collected for radiation measurements.
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Piece of granite and angle meter used to determine the hypocenter.
Recovery from chaos begins.
Recovery from chaos begins.
The Press Code.
The Press Code: strict censorship of published and broadcast reporting was enforced after the bombing; particularly severe censorship related to the A-bomb which delayed for years the full extent of damage done by the bomb. The Japanese only very slowly came to learn the full implications of atomic weapons and the devastation that occurred.
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Commitment to Peace.Tokyo1 034
Outdoor classroom in the aftermath of the bombing.
Outdoor classroom in the aftermath of the bombing.

Hiroshima Peace Park

Peace Memorial Park was established to comfort the souls of the victims of the atomic bombing and to pray for everlasting world peace.

Having decided to develop a commemorative park as a peace memorial facility, the city selected the design by the Kenzo Tange group from 145 proposals submitted in a design competition. Construction began in 1950 and was completed in 1954.

The view along the central axis, from Peace Boulevard at the southern tip of the park, up through the spaces between the pillars of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the arch of the Cenotaph for the A-bomb victims, through to the A-bomb Dome, is itself a prayer for the souls of the victims of the atomic bombing and a wish for everlasting world peace. Visitors can immediately sense the intention of the structure and the superior spatial design, through which Tange attempts to connect the act of seeing with that of praying for the A-bomb victims.

The exceptional natural scenery of the Peace Park and its environs is of great artistic, aesthetic, and historical value as a symbolic place of prayer for the A-bomb victims and for peace. It was designated a National Place of Scenic beauty on February 6, 2007.

View from above of the peace park (looking out from the museum).
View from above of the peace park (looking out from the museum).
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Cenotaph for the A-bomb victims.Tokyo1 138
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Fire burning and A-Dome in the background.
Side view.
Side view.
Rear-view- looking back towards the museum.
Rear-view- looking back towards the museum.

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Children's Peace Monument: This monument stands in memory of all children who died as a result of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The monument was originally inspired by the death of Sadako Sasaki, who was exposed to radiation from the bomb at the age of two. Ten years later Sadako developed leukemia that ultimately ended her life. Sadako's untimely death compelled her classmates to begin a call for the construction of monument in dedication to all the children who died as a result of the bomb.
Children’s Peace Monument: This monument stands in memory of all the children who died as a result of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The monument was originally inspired by the death of Sadako Sasaki, who was exposed to radiation from the bomb at the age of two. Ten years later Sadako developed leukemia that ultimately ended her life. Sadako’s untimely death compelled her classmates to begin a call for the construction of monument in dedication to all the children who died as a result of the bomb.

The inscription on the stone block under the monument reads: “This is our cry. This is our prayer. For building peace in this world.”

At the top of the nine-meter monument, a bronze statue of a young girl lifts a golden crane entrusted with dreams for a peaceful future. Figures of a boy and a girl hang from the side of the monument.
At the top of the nine-meter monument, a bronze statue of a young girl lifts a golden crane entrusted with dreams for a peaceful future. Figures of a boy and a girl hang from the side of the monument.
Paper cranes surround the childrens monument.
Paper cranes surround the childrens monument.

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The A-bomb Dome.
The A-bomb Dome.

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Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound: Here are laid the ashes of tens of thousands of victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Being close to the hypocenter, numerous corpses were collected at this spot and cremated.
Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound: Here lay the ashes of tens of thousands of victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Being close to the hypocenter, numerous corpses were collected at this spot and cremated.
Bell of Peace:
Bell of Peace: “We dedicate this bell/ As a symbol of Hiroshima Aspiration:/ Let all nuclear arms and wars be gone,/and the nations live in true peace!/ May it ring to all corners of the earth/ to meet the ear of every man,/ for in it throb and palpitate/ the hearts of its peace-loving donors./ So may you, too, friends,/ step forward, and toll this bell for peace!” (dedicated 09/20/64)
Peace Clock Tower:
Peace Clock Tower: “Quarter past eight every morning, the mortal moment of the blasting back in 1945, the clock will come to chime its prayer for perpetual peace and appeal to the peoples of the world that the wish be answered promptly. May the chime pervade the remotest corners of the Earth!”
Statue in remembrance of the Koreans who died from this tragic event.
Statue in remembrance of the Koreans who died from this tragic event.
The hypocenter. The atomic exploded above this very point on August 6, 1945.
The hypocenter. The atomic exploded 600m above this very spot on August 6, 1945.

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Lindsay View All →

Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!

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