The day started pretty early for us. After all the late night partying, it was kind of difficult getting up, and getting ready for the drive. We were leaving the Island and the Red gate back, and driving to Hiroshima. We had to be back at Osaka by 7:00 in the evening, to be in time to return the car. It was a bright and sunny day, and the drive to Hiroshima was a simple straight forward business, taking less than an hour, the only difficulty being, finding a parking place near the Peace Memorial Park.
Now; Hiroshima, needs no introduction, ever since I came to Japan, all those back home, friends and family, whenever, they call me, chat with me or see me, has got this one question: have you been to Hiroshima? This name has filled umpteen volumes, been photographed, made into documentaries, every one knows the story.
The city; a beautifully landscaped, well-kept one; like any other city in Japan, buzzing with life; holds under its breath, a tear, a sigh, a warning note!
The first thing you notice, when you enter the Peace Memorial Park, is the silence, and the underlying gloom. The museum takes you through all things that happened around the atomic bombing. (I’ve been trying to write all that for quite some time, hence this late entry about the visit.. but now i think it would be best if you visit it in person… or else the other option would be to visit the virtual museum here)
The exhibits on the second floor, and the stories that go with them are heart breaking. I could not find a single person in the whole building complex, who was not touched by them; most had tears flowing down their cheeks. The last exhibit, though, brought a smile on to my face.. It said.. “.. that autumn in Hiroshima, where it was said, ‘for seventy five years nothing would grow’, new buds sprouted in the green that came back to life.. Among the charred ruins people recovered their living hopes and courage..”
We left the museum complex with a heavy heart. No one talked, no one played the fool, and no one even made the slightest move to hide their tears…
Next, we strolled around in the park, visiting the various monuments around.. the flame of peace, the pond of peace, the A-Bomb dome, the Aioi bridge, the children’s peace memorial… (A full list with links to pictures is here)
We started our drive back, some time mid after noon. All we had to talk was weapons.. not just the nuclear ones, but weapons in general, and how the countries across the globe are racing each other in amassing them. In this world, where people are finding innumerous reasons to fight and to kill, in this world loaded with weapons with a total killing capacity that is far more than the world population, in this world where peace talks and cease fires are only measures to extend the killing grounds… Hiroshima stands Loud and Clear.. sending the message.. the message of what could happen in the event of another war, the message of hope for peace… It’s there; written for the world to read.. Only if the world WOULD READ IT!!