Prayers and lights near ground zero. Hiroshima, August 6th, 2006.

Here is a photograph of a woman kneeling beside a river, over a glowing paper lantern. The edge of the river is filled with floating lights.

AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

A woman offers prayers as she releases a paper lantern in the Motoyasu River with the backdrop of the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, western Japan, Sunday.

Canadian Press (2006-08-06): Japan marks 61st anniversary of U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima

Today, there is a park in the center of Hiroshima, at the site where the atomic bomb exploded. The beautiful grounds of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park are open to visitors year round, and host annual memorial ceremonies, commemorating the dead and calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum educates visitors about the bombing and its effects, through permanent displays and a series of exhibitions.

The Atomic Bomb Dome is a structure made up of the gutted ruins of the Industrial Promotion Hall, the only building left even partially standing near ground zero. There is a statue in memory of the children killed in the bombing and a cenotaph commemorating the 20,000 Korean forced laborers who were killed in the bombing, and who were given no funerals or memorial services by the militarist regime. The Memorial Mound is a large, grass-covered hill in which the ashes of about 70,000 unidentified victims of the bomb were interred.

The park has a Peace Bell, which visitors are encouraged to ring for world peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons. Every year on August 6th, the bell tolls, once, at 8:15 A.M.

There is also a cenotaph near the center of the park that records the names of all the identified victims of the bombing. The cenotaph is inscribed with the message, Rest in peace, for the error shall not be repeated.

One Response to “Prayers and lights near ground zero. Hiroshima, August 6th, 2006.”

  1. Longueuilloise Says:

    You won’t understand much because my blog is in French. I want to thank you for putting up this website. I am very interested in human rights and the anti-nuclear movement. I just started a blog a few days ago because I got fed up of bering attacked verbally all the time by neoconservatives.

    If we forget history we are bound to repeat it. I don’t agree with most of the things the person who commented before me said. Japan now refuses to have an army. I think it is justified to want to preserve the bombed grounds, to make people think. It is true that the prime minister of Japan still goes every year to a cemetary where some war criminals are buried. It is true the government still has difficulty acknowledging fully the plight of the “comfort women”. There are still issues with Japanese history textbooks. But I think it is too much to ask them to move on. There are lessons be be learned in Hiroshima, at the very time some American candidates to the presidency are talking about “to bomb, or not to bomb, Iran.” And some of them mean it!

    How is it that a country that is supposed to be a lighthouse of democracy has stooped so low?

    But the Japanese have forgiven the Americans. To me, this is a sign of hope.

    Aline B. from Canada

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