Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Spirit of Hiroshima

It is silence now…my thoughts are not fighting, but wait…

We wanted to visit Hiroshima, because we couldn’t in 2011.  And here we are, walking over the bridge and looking at the dome. It seems small, considering its significance. The ruins of the Product Exhibition Hall on a manicured lawn, surrounded by black iron fence and people taking pictures — somber modern art.

In the foreground: an ailing willow.

We pass a plaque on which it is written: “In order to have the fact known for succeeding generations and to make it a lesson for humankind, the reinforcement work of these ruins was done by the contributions of many people  who desire peace within and out of the country. The ruins shall be preserved forever. August 6, 1967 Hiroshima City”. And this is when I brake down and cry, thoughts asking and answering: Why did they have to die? They did not stop! But why such a bomb? It was made possible, but they did not know the effects! But WHY? … If they wouldn’t have died then, many more would have died later, during the Cold War, maybe you would have died too. All these events are still teaching humankind lessons, pray we should learn them!

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, structured as a place for prayer for those who perished as a result of the atomic bomb, but also for permanent world peace, includes a Memorial to the Mobilized Students, with a Goddess of Peace and eight doves alighted on the five successive widening tiers, structured around a central pole on which lights are offered to God in memory of the lives that were extinguished.

People come and bring paper cranes. School children, recite in front of the Children’s Peace Monument, shoulder to shoulder. They seem a fragile shield, protecting Sadako and all those whom she represents. Their voice repeats what others have said and it reverberates in generations to come “This is our cry, this is our prayer: for building peace in the world”. 

The box-like structures are full of origami "paintings"

On the bell it is written: "A Thousand Paper Cranes" and "Peace on Earth and in Heavens"

On October 25th, 1955 Sadako died as a victim of nuclear warfare. While in hospital she learned of the legend granting one wish to the person who folds 1,000 paper cranes. She had the resolve, but she lacked the paper, and so she used anything that was suitable, including the medicine wrappings. It is unclear if she finished or not, some say yes, her father said no. People come and bring paper cranes, making visible their wish and hope for peace.

We continue toward the museum and pass an eternal flame. Ioan asks “Why does it burn?” Until there are no more nuclear arms…

The Peace Memorial Museum from across the Pond of Peace

The Flame of Peace

The dome viewed through the Peace Flame.

The exhibit is impressive, explaining very well not only the scientific process related to the exploding bomb, but the personal effects, bringing to life in our imagination that person.

"War is the work of men. War is distruction of human life. War is death. To remember the past is to commit oneself to the future. To remember Hiroshima is to abhor nuclear war. To remember Hiroshima is to commit oneself to peace." His Holiness Pope John Paul II . Inscription on a statue in the hall of the museum.

The red ball shows the fireball (280m diameter) at 1 second after the explosion.

Survivors, on the day of explosion

Burned out letters, because the dark letters absorbed more heat.

Tin sheet picked up by the blast and thrown on the roof of a seven story building.

The roof of a house about 3,700 m west of the hypocenter was dislodged by the blast, allowing in drops of black rain that driped down and left traces on this white plaster wall. Analysis of this rain revealed that it contained radioactive fallout from the atomic bomb explosion.

Shinichi Tetsutani (then 3 years and 11 months) loved to ride this tricycle. That morning, he was riding in front of his house when, in a sudden flash, he and his tricycle were badly burned. He died that night. His father felt he was too young to be buried in a lonely grave away from home, and thinking he could still play with his tricycle, he buried Shinichi with the tricycle in the backyard. Forty years later, his father dug up Shinichi's remains and transfered them to the family grave. This helmet and tricycle, after sleeping for 40 years in the backyard with Shinichi, were donated  to the Peace Memorial Museum. 

Sadako's cranes, smaller than a quarter coin.

The Hall of Remembrance: a monument for the atomic bomb victims. The glass dome has a frozen clock at 8:15, when the bomb went off. Underground, the round hall has twelve pillars, representing the linkage between the time when Hiroshima was destroyed and the time we are living in. In the middle there is a clock fountain, showing the same hour and offering water to the victims, many whom have died asking for it to quench their thirst. The mural, made with approximately 140 000 tiles, corresponding to the numbers of victims, shows what remained in Hiroshima close to the epicenter. The man who worked there gave me the feeling that he was honored to be there and was mourning all of the victims in the same time.

On our way to visit the castle (reconstruction) we walk through a modern city, full of people and tall buildings. We enter one of these, a vertical mall, to find a food court and we are mesmerized by the variety. It is difficult to believe that above our heads are ten floors of brand fashion. 

The castle gives me the opportunity to learn how it was built and to make peace with the past.  While we visit the grounds we are enchanted by a barefoot two year old boy, dressed in kimono, walking happily on the foundation of a disappeared building. Life goes on.

We end the day in the forced perspective garden, built especially for the daimyo Shukkei-en: twisted trees, water-pond, islands and bridges, cranes and turtles and an elusive being that was difficult to be photographed, a moth, big enough to be a hummingbird (we thought it was one) Macroglosum stellatarum. 

Going back to the apartment I see this plaque:

We have the pieces…it is our choice what we build!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment form message here