On Memorial Day, Dave and I had the opportunity to visit Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum. It was intense and moving to view the destruction and hopes for peace.
Before entering the museum, we walked around the garden. There were many different monuments and statues dedicated to the victims and survivors. Perhaps the most iconic is the Atomic Bomb Dome. Here are a few pictures. The gravity of the destruction was intense. This specific spot was selected as the target because the bridge (we are standing on the bridge when I took this picture) and the river created a “T” making it easily identifiable from the air. The building has been preserved in its destroyed state as a reminder of the event and as a sign of hope for peace.
Another significant monument is the eternal flame for peace. The flame burns for peace on Earth.
I reflected on former President Obama’s speech from last year. I included a segment for you. I found it very poignant. He gave his speech standing in front of this monument. The eternal flame for peace and Atomic Bomb Dome are in the background.
“Why do we come to this place, to Hiroshima? We come to ponder a terrible force unleashed in a not-so-distant past. We come to mourn the dead, including over 100,000 Japanese men, women and children, thousands of Koreans, a dozen Americans held prisoner.
Every great religion promises a pathway to love and peace and righteousness, and yet no religion has been spared from believers who have claimed their faith as a license to kill.
Science allows us to communicate across the seas and fly above the clouds, to cure disease and understand the cosmos, but those same discoveries can be turned into ever more efficient killing machines.
That is why we come to this place. We stand here in the middle of this city and force ourselves to imagine the moment the bomb fell. We force ourselves to feel the dread of children confused by what they see. We listen to a silent cry. We remember all the innocents killed across the arc of that terrible war and the wars that came before and the wars that would follow.
And since that fateful day, we have made choices that give us hope. The United States and Japan have forged not only an alliance but a friendship that has won far more for our people than we could ever claim through war.”
-Barrack Obama May 27th, 2016
Another highlight within the park is the Children’s Peace Monument. Here is the story of the monument and the 1,000 cranes.
The monument and the cranes. It is difficult to see because of the lighting, the Peace bell is hanging within the statue.
Visiting the park was a very intense experience. The museum amplifies the intensity. The exhibits focus on the impact of the bombs on the victims. I didn’t take many pictures because I felt the pictures didn’t tell the story like the exhibits. I liked the way our tour guide summed up the experience of our visit. She encouraged us to tell people about our visit and to hope for peace. Also, we must hope there is never another Hiroshima. Spending time this Memorial Day in Hiroshima will be an experience I always treasure and will continue to inspire me to spread and bring peace.