Today we traveled to the Hiroshima Peace Park and Memorial Museum. These monuments were erected following America’s dropping of a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, ending the Second World War and simultaneously decimating the city. The resultant death toll is estimated at around 144,000. We all made paper cranes beforehand and donated them at the peace park. This tradition began after a 12-year old girl died from cancer after successfully making over 1,000 cranes so that her wish to survive could come true. Then we all sang The Lord Bless You surrounding the statue in her honor. The event was very emotional for many of us.
After we sang, we walked to the memorial museum. The first exhibit after entering was a graphic of the bomb falling on the city and its physical effects from above. Then, we walked through an exhibit with photographs of victims, items and clothes victims had when the bomb fell, and testimonies from victims. It was devastating to look at. I came to understand why they are so passionate about preventing another catastrophe like this. No one should ever have to suffer in that way again. People ran to the river just to get out of the fires. They were so dehydrated and thirsty they drank radioactive rain, and many of them didn’t have any reaction for months, then suffered in incredible pain before dying. Children were born with many disabilities for generations after, and cancer rates are still quite high, apparently. This kind of devastation should never have happened, and should never happen again. One of the few buildings left standing was a government building near the river. The city has gone to great efforts to preserve it in its exact state after the bomb. This serves as a reminder to the devastation that occurred that day, and as hope for a future with no war.
I am so grateful for this experience. We all studied the atomic bomb in school; but to see its effects in person was incredibly impactful, and has changed me forever. I hope I can go on to share these experiences with others going forward.