The route which I chose in Japan took me through various styles and phases. While I was in Tokyo, I was experiencing the metropolitan city and world famous Japanese architecture and inventions. As I moved forward to Yamanashi and Hakone, I came very much closer to nature. After coming to Kyoto, I felt like I was simply traveled back in time. But the moment I was in Hiroshima, I was stunned. Shocked to see the development and the transformation city had undergone after the brutal attack of the atomic bomb.
All of us are aware of the fate Hiroshima suffered during World War 2. Looking at the images of the bombing and the after effects make you cringe at what happened. I do not think anybody on this planet can ever imagine the pain the city and its citizens were put through.
When America decided to bomb in Japan, the first 5 targets were Kokura - The Largest munition plan, Hiroshima - Embarkation Port and Major Military Headquarters, Yokohama - Urban Center for Aircraft Making, Niigata - Industrial Facilities Including Steel and Aluminium Plants & Oil Refinery, Kyoto - Major Industrial Centers.
The criteria for selecting the target were:-
On May 30, 1945, Kyoto was removed from the list due to its historical significance and Nagasaki was added on July 25, 1945. The order for dropping the bombs was signed on July 26, 1945.
Several months before the attack, America dropped more than 63 million leaflets across Japan, warning citizens of Japan and mentioning "We cannot promise that only these cities will be attacked." These leaflets were written by Japanese soldiers imprisoned by America. The purpose was to encourage people to sign the petition to ask the Emperor to stop their participation in the war.
But all of these efforts were ignored by Japan. And on the unfortunate morning of August 6, 1945, at 8:16 an atomic bomb named LITTLE BOY was dropped on Hiroshima. The bombshell had several inscriptions scribbled on it, one of them was "Greetings to the Emperor from the men of Indianapolis". Indianapolis was the ship that transported the bomb to the Marianas.
Approximately 80,000 people were killed, more than 35,000 people were injured and around 60,000 people were dead by the end of the month. There were 90,000 building in Hiroshima before the bombing, which was reduced to 25,000. There were 200 doctors in the city out which only 20 were kept alive or capable of working. There were approximately 1,700 nurses out which only 150 were left to attend the injured and the sick.
Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr. was the pilot and commander of the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the plane was named as Enola Gay after his mother. After the attack, he said "We had feelings, but we had to keep it aside. My only motto was to do the best job I could and end the killing as quickly as possible."
The results of the attack were horrifying. It killed people immediately. Some of them literally melted because of the heat. Some were injured because of the things and its parts which were scattered into the air due to the explosion. Some even faced brain malfunction, skin diseases and died a slow death.
The atomic bomb attack also showed its effect on nature. The particles were mixed with water and when it rained later, it was the black rain, since sky poured black water from the sky. Leaving people with the shortage of water and again limiting their movement in the outer area.
Even after 73 years of the attack, the Hiroshima Peace Park will leave you teary-eyed with everything that you get to see in the museum and in the documentary movie.
Hiroshima Peace Park and the surrounding area is only 15 minutes distance from the bullet train station. You can start your walk from the Epicenter and then walk to the A-Bomb Dome. Further taking you to the Sadako Monument and proceeding to the Cenotaph and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
The bomb was dropped 1,900 feet over a hospital which is now known as the Epicenter of the attack. The hospital still remains at the same place and visitors go to this place to pay their tribute at the exact place.
Further to the epicenter lies the A-Bomb Dome also known as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial which is a former Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. When the explosion happened, it was one of the standing building which is kept still the same way.
As you walk ahead you come across a very unique monument i.e. Sadako Monument, which was built in the memory of the girl named Sadako. Sadako was the only surviving child after the attack who grew up to be very normal and without any disease. However, when she was nine years old, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. While she was admitted to the hospital, she started folding the paper and made paper cranes believing that this will eventually heal her. However, this did not really happen and the girl passed away on October 25, 1955. After her death, her friends and schoolmates raised the fund to build the monument we get to see today.
Further to that at the end of the park, you get to see the arch tomb made of concrete which is A Cenotaph, built in the memory of those who died due to any reason related to the atomic bomb. Below the cenotaph, it has a concrete block which holds a register mentioning the names of the victim numbering 2,20,000.
The building opposite to the Cenotaph is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum which has a collection of photos, things, clothes of the actual victims and the detailed history of the incident that destroyed the city. It also houses a mini theater where they show a documentary shot during those times.
May all the souls rest in peace and let's pray to God that there will be peace in the World and human life will be valued more than the arguments between the nations.
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