This morning in Hiroshima about 45,000 people stood for a minute of silence at a ceremony marking the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing. The ceremony was in Hiroshima's peace park near the epicenter of the bombing that killed up to 140,000 people. The bombing of Nagasaki three days later killed another 70,000.
Four years ago I visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum which tells the history of Hiroshima and the atomic bomb. The use of personal stories and artefacts make this a very sad but important museum to visit. The Genbaku Dome, also known as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, was one of the few few buildings to remain standing after the bomb. The UNESCO World Heritage Site has been left as a reminder of the tragic event of August 6th.
The photo below is a wall covered in letters of protest writen by the mayors of Hiroshima since 1968 to the leaders of countries everytime they conduct a nuclear test. This was just one wall of many....
Between the Museum and the Genbaku Dome is the Cenotaph for the A-Bomb Victims. The Cenotaph is an arched tomb for those who died because of the bomb, either because of the initial blast or exposure to radiation. Below the arch is a stone chest holding a register of these names, of which there are over 220,000.
Within the Peace Park is also the Children's Peace Monument to commemorate Sadako Sasaki and the thousands of child victims. Sadako Sasaki was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped. She had no injuries and grew into a strong and healthy girl. However, ten years later she was suddenly diagnosed with leukemia. She believed that folding origami paper cranes would help her recover but on October 25, 1955 she passed away. This story spread to the world and approximately 10 million cranes are offered each year to the Children's Peace Monument.