I thought it appropriate to post about my trip to Hiroshima, Japan on the actual 70th year anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima by the United States in World War II, August 6, 1945. Taking a day trip down to Hiroshima from Kyoto was made possible, affordable, and extremely convenient with the high speed shinkansen trains and our Japan Rail pass. The ride down was only about 2 hrs long.
Within the last three years, I actually visited Pearl Harbor at Hawaii and then Manzanar Internment Camps in eastern California. It wasn’t a planned progression, but in retrospect, it was actually a very fitting one, finishing off this complete circle with Hiroshima. At each location, it was hard to not break into tears.
I made it a point to visit Hiroshima this trip to Japan. What I really wanted was to be at the epicenter of the explosion, which is right around where the Atomic Bomb Dome, Peace Memorial Park, and Peace Memorial Museum are located. I wanted to look up at the sky and imagine Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. flying the Enola Gay overhead, imagine Little Boy falling out of the sky, imagine it detonating about 2,000ft above me, scorching and melting everything within a one mile radius, killing up to 70,000 people, some instantly, some slowly, flesh melting off their bodies, puking out their internal organs as the radiation ate through their flesh, many of them children and students who had been summoned to the area to work on rebuilding projects.
The first thing I saw was the Atomic Bomb Dome or Genbaku Dome, which had originally been an Industrial Promotion Hall 1915. Everyone died inside the building from the blast, but it was one of the few buildings left standing and preserved as a memorial. In December 1996, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The winter day we visited, it was appropriately gloomy, and the building was actually going under some structural reinforcing, so it was surrounded by scaffolding. At first, I was a tad bummed, because I wanted to see the building on its own, but then it still made a stark figure against the sky and was not at all a disappointment in conveying the depth of meaning and history burned into its walls.
And burned into walls of the building history was.
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