Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Wednesday, 06 August 2008 - A remembrance

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a remembrance.

As the bomb fell over Hiroshima and exploded, we saw an entire city disappear. I wrote in my log the words: "My God, what have we done?"
~Captain Robert Lewis, co-pilot of the U.S. Air Force bomber Enola Gay that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug 6, 1945, instantly killing at least 117,000 people

Most days, I don't consider my Japanese heritage. But two days a year, I do: August 6, the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, and December 7, Pearl Harbor Day.

On August 6, I remember JM, a former colleague's mother, who, by a strange quirk of fate, survived the bombing of Hiroshima.

A working girl, JM was chronically tardy. But on August 6, 1945, she arrived at the office early to make-up for lost time.

When the atom bomb hit the city at 8:15 AM, she was already working in the library's concrete-encased basement. The basement acted like a bomb shelter, absorbing the impact and minimizing radiation exposure.

At 8:15 AM on any other workday, JM, late as usual, would still be sitting on the crowded commuter train as it neared the main Hiroshima station.

Hiroshima marks A-bombing
The Yomiuri Shimbun

HIROSHIMA--About 45,000 people attended a memorial ceremony Wednesday at the Peace Memorial Park here to mark the 63rd anniversary of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of the city.

Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba said in a peace declaration that the majority of the world wants to abolish nuclear weapons as shown by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty signed by about 190 states.

"All we need is the strong will and capacity to act to guard the future for our children," he said during the ceremony, which began at 8 a.m.

With music playing to console the spirits of the victims, the names of 5,302 hibakusha (atomic bomb victims) who died during the past year--or whose deaths were confirmed--were added by Akiba and representatives of bereaved families to the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims at the park, bringing the total number of victims to 258,310, recorded in 93 books.

Representatives of atomic bomb survivors, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and representatives from a record 55 countries, including first-time participant China, offered flowers to the cenotaph.

At 8:15 a.m., the time when the bomb detonated over the city, two representatives of the bereaved families tolled the Peace Bell, followed by a minute of silent prayer for the victims.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


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