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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Futoshi Tanimoto (male)
'Chokubaku'  2 km from the hypocenter / 22 years old at the time / current resident of Hiroshima

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. A girl who seemed to be 2 or 3 years old was staggering barefoot around many people lying on the ground, looking for her mother. She was wearing a one-piece dress, but it was torn by the A-bomb blast and her skin was hanging down. I found her in the field of Hiroshima University of Science and Literature and lifted her up to help her look for her mother. I tried to find her mother, calling, "Who is the mother of this girl?" In the end, I couldn't find her mother.

In the shade by the swimming pool at the corner of the field, I laid out something like old rags and laid her down there to care for her. I waited for rescue. I can't recall how long we had waited before a soldier came and said, "A military car has arrived and is standing by at the Miyuki Bridge. Anybody who can, step forward!" It sounded like God's blessing to me and I went out there, holding the girl in my arms.
I handed the girl over to a soldier and said, "Please help her," and he replied, "Yes, of course. Don't you worry about her."
I couldn't tell whether she had been conscious or not then, but if she was fortunate enough to survive, she might be healthy and might have a good life just about now.
This is the memory of my lifetime.

Another unforgettable memory

Another memory that I can never forget on that August 6th is of boys and girls around the age of 14 to 15 carrying out the demolition of buildings and houses. They were on student mobilization.
(I had been also doing that work until the day before.)
I think they had just started working on that day.

There was a well in the corner of the field of Hiroshima University of Science and Literature. There was a group of junior high school students among many A-bomb survivors who were standing in line for some water. The students wore similar outfits and fighting caps and wore gaiters around their tiny legs. Their shirts were in tatters; their skin had turned black-red due to burns and had peeled off and was hanging down; blood was oozing out from their whole bodies. I couldn't tell who was who because their faces were so swollen. They were pumping water for one another in silence, even with their injuries being fatal.

I offered to pump some water for them because I just couldn't let them do it. I was determined to keep pumping as long as my energy kept up.
I always wonder what became of them. They might have had only short lives with such heavy injuries. But I don't want to think that way. I want to believe that they were fortunate enough to survive and got back on their feet, became full-fledged grown-ups and by now, are retired and living happily with their families.