The 69th Anniversary of the Hiroshima A-bomb
On 6th of August 1945, a US bomber dropped an atomic bomb, now known as the a-bomb, onto the Japanese city of Hiroshima. It instantly killed 80,000 people and thousands more in the months which followed due to painful and slow radiation poisoning. Three days after this attack another a-bomb was dropped onto Nagasaki, but the devastation didn't come close to that of Hiroshima. These attacks on Japan remain the only nuclear attacks in history. This year will be the 69th anniversary of the bombing.
The Peace Memorial Park, which was built on an open field created by the explosion, draws millions of visitors every year. August 6th in particular however, will be a time for Japanese residents to commemorate and mark this day in their history. The park covers a substantial area and is an imperative part of the city. Inside the grounds are monuments, memorials, and the Peace Memorial Museum which details the events including and immediately surrounding the attack.
The most touching monument with a true story behind its design is the Children's Peace Monument. It is a bronze statue of a young girl with an origami crane rising above her. She was exposed to the radiation and years later became very ill. She hoped that if she folded 1,000 paper cranes that her wish would come true and she would be cured; however she sadly passed away at the age of only 12. This monument was funded entirely by donations so that it could mark all of the spirits of the children who had died as a result of the a-bomb. Each year, millions of cranes are offered in front of the statue from people across the world; they can be personally delivered or sent and offered on the sender's behalf.
Theodore “Dutch" Van Kirk, the last surviving U.S. crew member who went on the mission to drop the bomb on Hiroshima, passed away in July of this year. In a last interview he explained how he hopes the world learnt from the devastation this event caused and that nuclear weapons are never used again.
Preparations for the 70th anniversary in 2015 begin this year with the facilities in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park being renovated. On the BBC there is an incredible recollection of the event through the true story of Shinji Mikamo written by Vibeke Venema. Read 'When Time Stood Still' here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/2014/newsspec_8079/index.html.