I’m sitting near the open window of my room on the ninth floor of the Aster Plaza Hostel. The cool night air mixes with the lights of buildings and streets light and with the sounds of traffic flowing over the city’s many bridges. The closest bridge, Aioi Bridge, just out of the sight-line of my window, is shaped like a T, and although I can’t see it, I know it’s there. On the sixth of August, 1945, it served as the sighting target for the Enola Gay when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. A hundred yards away stand the crumbling remains of the Hiroshima Prefecture building, better know as the A-Bomb dome, as well as the Peace Park, which was erected to remind the world that war and the use of super-powered weapons have tragic consequences that far outlast the objectives of military actions.
Today, as a few of us we walking back the hostel after dinner, we crossed the Aioi Bridge and stopped at the sound of singing. On the same river where the bomb killed 140,000 people and in .03 seconds started the unforgettable fire that burned this city to a cinder, we found a group of school children floating lights of remembrance and singing hymns of peace. Their songs were a testament to the Japanese people’s ability to accept their role in the war that led to the bombing and to also ask not for revenge for the loses they suffered for generations, but to seek peace so that no other people has to suffer the same fate.
I’ll post some photos of the sights we’ve seen the past two days, but later, not this time.