One of my students told me about his grandfather’s experience on August 6th, 1945 in Hiroshima. This is an ode to Hiroshima’s past on the day the Atomic Bomb exploded, and a story he continues to tell every year on that fateful day…
‘On that day, he went to a building, which was used by Chugoku-bank, located in front of Hachobori-crossing, he planned to attend a congress as a local firefighter.
It just so happened that it was also quite near to ground zero. His friend offered a seat to my grandfather and they began to chat. At that very moment, the atomic bomb had been dropped. His friend disappeared within seconds of the bomb blast. However, my grandfather could survive because of a concrete wall that stood in front of him. Tragically, his friend was standing behind a window.
Immediately, my grandfather decided to go home and search for his family. When he went outside amongst the devastation, he saw many people who were suffering burning and desperate for water. He led them to Kyobashi-river from his natural instincts as a firefighter.
When he got to Shukkeien-park near the river, the bridge had fallen down due to the bomb. He gave up on crossing the bridge, and instead dived into the river and tried to swim to the opposite shore. Yet, many people were struggling and begging him for help trying to cling to him. He really wanted to help them, but couldn’t as he was concerned for the welfare of his family.
After a fierce struggle, he barely made it across the river. He finally reached his house and found his family safe.
A few days later, he went back to the original building in search of his friend. But, he couldn’t meet him again, and only his friend’s knife remained.
My grandfather has also passed away. But he would always say to me seriously, “It keeps me alive”. I often wonder what brings us life and death. Every year on this day, I promised our ancestry that I would continue this tradition.
Those who passed the baton of life down to me have allowed me to live sincerely, and I will continue to do the same for future generations.’
This is one short, but extremely powerful tale that sends a strong and simple message about the impact and aftermath of such a destructive force. Hiroshima is truly courageous and determined in their efforts to rid the world of such dangerous weapons. We only hope it can occur soon enough, to prevent any man, woman or child from suffering a similar kind of turmoil in the future.