Hiroshima Travel Blog› entry 3 of 8 › view all entries
The first thing that you see when you get to the park and museums is the Atomic Bomb Dome. The building was amazing in 1945; it was a modern building complete with a cooper roof that melted when the bomb was dropped. This building alone shows the devastation that the bomb caused. After walking around that building we went to the Children’s Memorial that was built for the children who died because of the bomb. This is the area where the paper cranes are hung as a symbol for peace.
I took four classes that dealt with World War 2 back at the university; I read articles, and books, saw documentaries, and watched movies that focused on the bombing so for me this was an emotional experience. I was continuality fighting back tears and thinking about all of the lives that were lost but then at the same time I was filled with hope and the knowledge that Japan is recovering from this.
While thinking about the lives that were lost and reading the signs that explained the memorials I was also able to look around the park and to see young children chasing pidgins, college and high school students riding their bikes, and families who were sightseeing sitting in the grass and eating lunch. It really filled me with hope.
After looking at the outside area, Andrea and I then went to the museum that told the history of Hiroshima and of World War 2. The museum was neutral; it explained America’s reasons for dropping the bomb and the history of Hiroshima as a center for the Japanese military. The first part focused on the history of Hiroshima and then the history of World War 2. The part that I really found interesting was a section of letters that the mayor of Hiroshima writes to the leaders of a nation when that nation tests a nuclear weapon. I was amazed at how many letters there were and how many tests have been run.
The second part of the museum focused on the effect that the bomb had on the people of Hiroshima. I had seen many of the pictures before so I avoid how the radiation effected the people simply because my stomach could not handle it.
The part in this section that stuck with me was about a young girl who was two when the bomb was dropped. After the bombing she appeared not to be effected and excelled at sports. However, when she turned twelve she was diagnosed with leukemia. She ended up going to the hospital where she started to fold paper cranes and each paper crane that she folded represented her wish to get better but even though she folded a thousand she ended up dying. Her classmates and a couple members of the community wanted to build a children’s monument because of her and this is where the monument originated from.
After I finished the museum exhibits, I sat and waited for Andrea to finish. While waiting I was able to look out at the park and watch the children playing and it really helped to raise my spirits.
I think that anyone who is interested should visit Hiroshima. For me reading and learning about it class was ok but going there and seeing the museum and watching the children in the park really made everything that I had learned sink in and I am still dealing with and processing the visit. I am glad that I went and I am planning to visit again in the future.