Forget Not, Hiroshima!
In 1991, I had the chance to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Having been there personally at ground zero, seeing war pictures, murals, video footages and even talking to some survivors first hand made me feel the immensity of the destruction. Man’s inhumanity to man! Still fresh in my mind was the story narrated to us by one survivor of how some of the victims fleeing away from the inferno tried to jump into the Hiroshima River thinking they’ll find relief in it. But relief there was not, only gruesome death. For the water was boiling hot!
Years after the war, thousands more of the city’s surviving inhabitants eventually died of diseases directly attributable to radiation exposure. Perhaps none more poignant as the story of Sadako Sasaki, a 12 year old girl who for 10 years after the bombing suffered leukemia. While in the hospital Sadako started making origami paper cranes believing in an age-old Japanese belief that one’s wish will be granted after making one thousand paper cranes. She tried and tried, never losing hope, until she became very weak and eventually succumbed to the disease. She managed to only make 600 or so cranes before she died. After she died, Sadako’s classmates decided to build a monument for her of a beautiful girl holding a crane over her head. Inscribed at the bottom of the statue: "This is our cry, This is our prayer, Peace in the world". Today, children all around the world create paper cranes as a symbol of peace.
An epitaph at Hiroshima’s Peace Park reads, “Let All the Souls Here Rest in Peace, For We Shall Not Repeat the Evil.” It is my hope that the nightmare of Hiroshima never to happen again. And so with reflection and prayer, I bid you all, forget not, Hiroshima!