Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hiroshima -Colton Thoreson

Colton Thoreson

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was created in Hiroshima’s city center as a memorial to the victims of the atomic bomb dropped there on August 6, 1945. The memorial park stands on the area that was the hypocenter of the blast, an area completely cleared of almost all standing structures and vegetation. The park was built in 1954 to memorialize the victims of the attack, of which there are up to 140,000, and to establish a memory of the horrors of nuclear warfare and to advocate for world peace. The park consists of a memorial cenotaph to the victims, which reads “Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall never repeat the error.” The “evil” refers to the evil that is warfare. Also included in the park are 6 gates of peace, which have the word peace written on them in 49 different languages, the peace flame, which has burned since 1964 and will continue to burn until all nuclear weapons are destroyed, and children’s peace monument, to which thousands of paper cranes are donated to in the memory of Sadako Sasaki, who folded paper cranes until she died at age 12 after she contracted leukemia from the radiation. She did this with the belief that whoever folds 1000 paper cranes will be granted one wish. Perhaps the most famous monument at the park is the A-bomb Dome, the remains of the building almost directly under the blast that remains standing to this day. A museum is located near the entrance of the park that preserves artifacts from the blast and serves to educate people of the horrors of nuclear warfare.




We entered the park by the gates of peace and made our way to the cenotaph. The park had a very sorrowful feel, and as such, the band was very quiet. It seemed that the park had an effect on everyone, and all wanted to show their respects. From the cenotaph, we made our way past the peace flame and towards the children’s monument. Our original intentions were to present the cranes we had folded earlier in the year at that time, but as our luggage had been moved ahead to the next town without us, we had to make arrangements to have them delivered there at a later time. Instead, we gathered as a group and sang “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.” It was an honor to sing at the monument and it felt incredibly right to sing at that time. Several members of the band had goosebumps and many had tears in their eyes. I, myself, had several times where I was almost to the point of tears while walking through the park. I would consider it as a sign of emotional maturity and another way of honoring the dead.

                        After we sang, we rang the peace bell there and proceeded on through the rest of the park. We stopped to look around when we came to the A-bomb Dome and saw the incredible destruction that the bomb had caused, and several of us stopped to reflect for a moment.

                After that, we moved on and entered the museum. Inside of the museum was many artifacts that had been destroyed or preserved from the bombing, and there was also sever models that showed the town center both before and after the bombing.
                Also in the museum was a world globe showing all of the current nuclear stockpiles, graphic images of the human damages a nuclear weapon can cause and, what I consider to be the strongest images of the museum, paintings of the horrors seen by some of the survivors. I feel it important that everyone is aware of these horrors, so some of the paintings, though graphic are included below.

    In all, this was an incredibly emotional experience for nearly every person in the band, and though it was incredibly tragic, I’m very glad to have had the experience. It most definitely changed the person that I am and changed my opinions on war and any type of violence, and I have a feeling that it did the same for many of my band-mates. The amount of respect that should be shown for the people who survived and rebuilt from such a horrific event caused by our country is immeasurable.

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