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