Monday, March 22, 2004

Went to the Hiroshima Peace Museum on the weekend...

Masatada Asaeda

3rd Grade Student in 1945

When we were playing in the school ground, an airplane came, but we kept on playing, only saying "Why did they give the all-clear?" All of a sudden, there was something like lightening and I covered my face with my hands. When I opened my eyes and looked around, it was dark and I couldn't see anything. While I was feeling around in the darkness, it became light. I was thinking of going home, and I found that all the houses around me had been destroyed and fires were burning here and there.

I started running home, crying and calling, "Mother! Mother!" But I couldn't tell where my house had been. I just went around this way and that, and then I heard my sister calling my name. I was shocked when I saw her, because she was stained with blood all over. I looked at myself; the skin of both my arms and feet had peeled away and was hanging off. I didn't know what all this meant, and I was frightened, so I burst into tears. Meanwhile, Mother had crawled out from the pile of tiles and dragged an overcoat and Father's cloak out of a trunk and wrapped us in them.

We spent the night in Yasu Shrine in Gion. Because of their burns, everyone was crying for water all night. The next morning, we were taken by truck to a Buddhist temple in Kabe. That night, my sister died. How can I describe Mother's grief? How can I describe the horrible scenes I saw in the temple then? Who can imagine the miseries we went through except those who were there themselves? It is entirely beyond my power to put the terrible sight into words. Countless people suffering from burns and wounds, groaning with pain, their bodies covered with maggots, and dying in delirium, one after another. It was hell on earth.

Walking through the museum, I couldn't help but think, wow, this is how the "good guys" fight a war. If there was any doubt, this place helps to drive home the point that there are no good guys in war.

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