Monday, August 6, 2012

67 years since Hiroshima

Today, the 6th of August, marks the 67th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Thursday the 9th will be the anniversary of Nagasaki.

One year ago today, I stood among thousands of people from around the world in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park for the annual Peace Memorial Ceremony. Together, we showed our solidarity to the cause of a nuclear weapon free future. This year, the grandson of the then president Harry Truman attended the ceremony. However, no president of the United States has ever attended, and that lack is noted by the Japanese people.

It is argued that more people, both Japanese and American, would have died if the bombs had not been dropped, and that may be true. Nevertheless, it was a horrific act with long-reaching consequences to the lives of innocents. The Japanese people take their experience as the world's only nuclear weapon victims seriously. All Yr. 6 students go on a school trip to either Hiroshima or Nagasaki to learn about the bombings first hand. Hibakusha (survivors of the bombings) travel to schools recounting their experiences and emphasising the need for peace. The rest of the world needs to take their lesson seriously too. We must not let it happen again.

If you haven't previously read it, I recommend you read my post on the Hiroshima Peace Museum. Visiting there was incredibly upsetting and draining, but if I could, I would send all the older children or adolescents of the world there, or a place like it, to make them see the human cost of war.

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