Posted by: cyradisnyc | December 1, 2008

Stopping Briefly in Hiroshima

This train will be stopping briefly in Hiroshima.

I can’t help but wonder what Hiroshima will look like. Will all the buildings be new? Will it lack any sense of shadow after having been obliterated by a sun? I suspect that now, 63 years after the bomb, it will look like an ordinary city.

I find it incomprehensible to think that we were at war with these people. They have been so friendly and welcoming. I have no personal connection to World War II. None of my family members fought in it (that I’m aware—I have some sort of vague idea that my grandfather on my mother’s side may have been involved somehow), so I lack some of the stronger reactions to it.

I remember sitting around a friend’s house in high school. Her father was old for being the father of a teenager—he was in his early 70s. He had fought in World War II in the Pacific front. One night he overheard us debating the use of the bomb. He got extremely angry, and crashed into the discussion with a lot of “You don’t know, you weren’t born yet” and “If we hadn’t used the bomb we would have had to go in overland and thousands of troops would have died, probably including me.”

It was not known at the time, but when we dropped the atomic bomb, Japan had already offered to surrender. The country was devastated, its people starving. That was the country we used atomic weaponry on. Not the mighty Japanese army that performed such atrocities in China, or bombed Pearl Harbor, but a thoroughly defeated nation who had already tried to give up.

I’ve seen photos of the aftermath of the atomic bomb. With the perspective allowed by distance and lack of emotional ties to the situation, it looks wrong. I hope that we remain the only country to make this wrong choice.

JST: 1:43 pm

We are now arriving at Hiroshima. It looks much like the other cities, except taller. Maybe this is a result of more modern construction being widely used.

They are building a baseball stadium.

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