“I fought with myself for 30 minutes before I could take the first picture. After taking the first, I grew strangely calm and wanted to get closer. I took about ten steps forward and tried to snap another; but the scenes I saw were so gruesome my viewfinder clouded with tears.” – immediately after the bombing, Yoshito Matsushige , photographer from his book “The Viewfinder Clouded with Tears”.
Hiroshima, being the first city to suffer the wrath of nuclear attack had decided to build the open, devastated area on what used to be the town’s key commercial and residential area into a park dedicated to the memories of the bomb victims, now popularly known as Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. This spacious park houses several memorials, monuments and museums( Children’s Peace Monument, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Memorial Museum for Atomic Bomb Victims, A-Bomb Dome) not only to remember the estimated 140,000 casualties of the bombing but to serve as a reminder on why it is important to pursue and establish world-wide peace.
At the center of the park lies the Cenotaph which holds the names of all the people who died on the bombing. The cenotaph is covered by a concrete, arch shaped monument which believes to shelter the soul of the victim. It is interesting to note that the monument is constructed such a way that if you look thru the center, you will see the A-Bomb Dome on one end and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on the other end. At the back of the cenotaph is a pool of water leading to the Peace Flame.
The Peace Flame was first lit in 1964 and still aflame to date. The mission is to have it remain lit until all the nuclear bombs in the world is destroyed and humanity is free from any nuclear treats.
Every 6th of August at annual Peace Memorial Ceremony, a one-minute silence is dedicated for the victims, at 8:15am the exact timing of the dropping of atomic bomb. I suggest to anyone who will be visiting the park to do the same regardless of which date or time your visit is.
May they rest in peace.