Hiroshima is a place many know throughout the world as the site where the first atomic bomb used in warfare was dropped. On August 6, 1945 at 8:15 am, the political and commercial center of Hiroshima was destroyed by the atomic bomb. Four years after the attack the decision was made to rebuild the area as a memorial park. Scattered all over this expansive park are statues, monuments, and structures dedicated to remembering those who were lost.
The Genbaku Dome or more commonly known as A-Bomb Dome, was one of the few structures in the hypocenter to survive the atomic bomb. In 1996, the dome was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and stands as a symbol for the people’s prayers for a peaceful world. The structure is all that remains of the former Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. When you get close to the remains, you can see the rubble at the base. While looking at the structure, you feel a sense of sadness rush over you as it stands to remind us of the horrors of nuclear weapons and the hope for world peace.
“This is our cry. This is our prayer. For building peace in this world.” These words are inscribed under the Children’s Peace Monument. This monument was built in honor of the children who died at the bombing as well as those who perished from radiation. The girl at the top is Sasaki Sadako, who died of leukemia at the age of 12 after being exposed to radiation at the age of 2. Her story of folding a thousand paper cranes in order to achieve her wish of getting better spread throughout Japan. Although in vain, her story inspired hope for a world where this tragedy does not repeat itself. It is said the golden crane above represents the first crane Sadako folded in her endeavor to make her wish come true.
Near to one another is the Peace Flame and Memorial Cenotaph. The Peace Flame has been burning since 1964 and will continue to do so until all nuclear weapons in the world are destroyed. The concrete saddle shaped cenotaph has a stone chamber in the center with a Register of Deceased A-bomb Victims. The inscription on the chamber was translates to “Let all the souls here rest in peace for we shall not repeat the evil.” It was designed to be aligned with the Peace Flame and the A-Bomb Dome in the distance.
Housed in this modern looking building are historical documentations, artifacts, and testimonies from survivors of the atomic bombing. All of the items inside want to convey the message of “No More Hiroshimas.” The items that were donated have a story to tell and feelings to convey. The tattered clothes worn by those who were killed is a painful reminder of what a nuclear attack is capable of. Household items mangled from the heat and charred remains of a child’s bicycle are remnants of lives ending before their time. See with your own eyes to deeply understand the message they are trying to convey.