Monday, February 15, 2010

Never Again

Hiroshima is an event that has been haunting me and my image of the U.S. for years now.  Being able to visit the site was an incredible and eerie experience.
    We left Kyoto for Hiroshima early in the morning and I was shocked to see that when we got out of the train station we were not in an abandoned, empty space.  So, we had to navigate ourselves around a city that we thought would be purely for the purposes of memorial.  Luckily, by this day in the trip my Japanese had improved enough to ask where the bus station was-by the way my friends were teasing me that if I got an asian haircut I could basically be Japanese because I was the one continuously trying to speak the language and learn different words-it was great—point is we found the bus station and made our way to the A-bomb dome and the peace memorial park.
    The moment we stepped out of the bus we could see the dome and the image was breathtaking.  The fact that we were in a flourishing city with tons of restaurants and shopping and then could take the bus a stop away and witness the remains of the city that was before was terrifying and quite honestly embarrassing.  We were stopped by a few Japanese people asking us if we were Americans-and this was a place I did not want to admit that-but we did.  It was difficult to talk to people who lived there and had families who were a part of this catastrophe that we as Americans caused.  But the Japanese are forgiving-and I can only give them endless credit for that.  I don’t think I could forgive anyone who could do such a thing to a community.  The atomic bomb on Hiroshima was a sick joke.  One that the U.S. did not think too hard on and did not understand the full consequences of their actions.  We caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people, knocking out an entire city, but torturing them first.  People’s skin melted off their bodies, maggots began emerging from their open wounds, and with limited medical supplies since the hospitals were bombed as well, people were left to sit and watch their families decay before them.  I can’t describe all the pictures, the scorched bicycles, the burned clothing, anything that was left behind and now on display.  All I know is if I wasn’t in a museum full of strangers I probably would have thrown up.
    We just sat down on a bench and processed for a while after we left the museum.  We looked out upon the memorial and were haunted by what was gone.  It was bizarre to think we were staring out into a city that was once entirely different, then nothing, and now new.

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