Nothing will grow for 75 years....

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April 11th 2006
Published: May 11th 2006
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8.15am.........Hiroshima will be forever remembered for that terrible incident on 6th October 1945 when it became the world's first atomic bomb target. "Nothing will grow for 75 years" went the rumours after the Enoula Gay unleashed the bomb.

The historical elements of this trip have been some of our most memorable things.... Kanchanaburi in Thailand, EVERYTHING about Cambodia, Vietnam and now Hiroshima are all firmly entrenched in my mind as a potent symbol of the idocy of war. Oddly enough, you would never know about the history of this city from just looking at it. In fact it is like any other city in Japan, or the world for that matter. However, there are a few important reminders which will always stick with me now......

The first stop was the museum. The Peace Memorial Museum was an overwhelming experience full of first hand accounts of the after effects of the bomb as well as the events preceding it and the efforts being made by modern day Japan to stop the progression of nuclear weapons. It was very moving to read every letter written by the Japanese government to every western power in protest of nuclear testing. When will we ever learn!

Outside the museum the Peace Memorial Park is dotted with memorials including the cenotaph that contains all the names of the known victims of the bomb. This frames the flame of peace which is only to be extinguished when the last atomic weapon on earth has been destroyed. The Peace Memorial Hall is a contemplative hall of rememberance and a register of all the victims' names and where photographs and memoirs are kept. The Childrens Peace Park was inspired by a 10 year old girl who developed Leukemia at 10 years of age as a result of the bomb. She vowed to fold 1000 paper cranes (an ancient Japanese custom symbolising longevity and happiness) and was convinced that if she could reach that target she would recover. She died before reaching her goal, but her classmates folded the rest. The story inspired a nationwide bout of paper crane folding which continues to this day. Strings of paper cranes from all over Japan are kept on display around the memorial.

Across the river the A-bomb dome is a symbol of the destruction visited upon Hiroshima and serves as a potent reminder of peoples' inhumanity. Declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1996 the building was the Industrial Promotional Hall until the bomb exploded almost directly above it. Its propped up ruins, floodlit at night, have been left as an eternal reminder of the tragedy and were hanunting to see at night.

So, not all we do is fun and games. That is important though. Days like this, although sombre, really serve to make us realise how lucky we are.

Additional photos below
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bomb damagebomb damage
bomb damage

The print from this woman's Kimono was burned onto her skin

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