The Undying Flame in Hiroshima

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  • Ever since I remembered, In my school, I learned that Japan was a bad country. Which means, they were cruel to my fellow men, they killed many people, they blew up pearl harbour and many more. It was written in history books in schools and even taught by our teachers. Regardless, as time passed, and things have changed, people became more forgiving and more open about that history.

    When I came to Japan, I admired on how they preserved their culture, most of all I look up to them when it comes to technology and tradition. Since I was more enamored with those, I never really paid attention to Japanese history, until I came to Hiroshima. Out of boredom and being a foreigner, it’s normal to walk around and see tourist spots. My feet brought me to Hiroshima memorial peace shrine which was built on 1915. At first was I thought it’s just another historical area. Then I came to realize that there is more to it. Hiroshima itself is a historical place. The Atomic dome or Genbaku dome is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage since December 7,1996, is the only surviving remnant after the atomic bomb was dropped. Over 70,000 people were killed, the other 70,000 suffered the radiation effect. I saw pictures showing on how a quiet town was bombed and killed many people without them knowing. Where most of them tried to hide under the bridge and some jumped on the river, but because of the heat, they still died. At the dome it’s self you will see a faded shadow of a man who tried to hide behind the wall, but he still died and all that’s left is the mark on where he stood to hide.


    Author’s photo

    At the park you will see there that are two buildings, the cultural center and the museum where they have pictures of the aftermath, It was devastating to look at, that I did not even finish looking at all of the pictures in the museum. On the center, there is a monument called Memorial cenotaph which is shaped like a saddle and all the names of the people who died are written on it, it is aligned with the memorial flame and A-dome.

    The memorial flame is a fire that was lit up in 1964 and it was never lit off ever since. That fire was for the souls of the thousands of people who died because of the atomic bomb, and every year the prime minister of Japan visits the place and he offers flowers and prayers for those people. And Japanese government mandates schools to have field trips to the place, for them to learn, pray and remember the people who died because of the war.

    The words written in front of the cenotaph is “please rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the same error “After visiting the place I realized that everyone was affected by the war, both sides actually lost because they lost lives. I also believe that even joking for another atomic bomb is not good or I could say the war is not good. I pray for the souls of those who passed away during the war. May they find peace. And as for us, May we learn from the past and live in peace.
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