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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Hideko Nakaoka (female)
'Nyushi hibaku'  / 16 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. At 8:15 a.m., on August 6th, when I went out from the hospital to pick up a bottle of milk for my patients, I looked up at the sky as something flashed, covering the sky even though the weather was clear.

Nine aircraft, in perfect formation, flew toward Hiroshima. I spent the day ordinarily until noon. Since I went to nursing school earlier, I was told that there was a phone call, and nurses from Hirata Hospital should go back to the hospital immediately. When I got to the hospital, rice balls, some pairs of socks and work pants were prepared. I was told to hurry to the police station. On the way, I was thinking that I hadn't done anything wrong.

When I arrived, there were about forty unknown nurses, policemen, doctors and some trucks. I was just a nurse trainee. I didn't know where we were headed but the trucks went off. Around Saijo, one of the policemen said that a bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima and we would go to look after the injured. He asked us to care for them. Around Hachihonmatsu, we saw many two-wheel carts and many injured people on them, covered with sheets. They were going toward Mihara. Dr. Mori said the people on the cart seemed to still be alive, then stopped the truck and treated some of them. Their bodies were so badly cut and covered with blood that we could not distinguish their sex. They groaned and murmured, "Water...! Water...!" But giving water meant death. Dr. Mori gave a simple treatment in order to get them back home alive. When we arrived in Hiroshima, a naked woman was pumping water hard although there was none coming out. Her acquaintances told us that she had gone insane.

A pile of coal burning at the tram station was red. There were many dead bodies lying on the streetcars or just standing. One of the bodies in the river was upside down with its head between the rocks. Its legs were floating. People died seeking water. Soldiers died on the stone steps on the parade grounds. Dead bodies, dead bodies and more dead bodies......all over.
Children seriously wounded all over their bodies were calling their mothers for water. I could hear them groaning and calling names to each other in soundless voices. I can't remember where, but I was able to finally have some water three days later.

I helped to burn a pile of dead bodies on the spacious grounds. There may have been hundreds. In the evening, when a doctor and I were walking along, we heard something like "Boo woo!" We found a little boy, maybe one year old, who wanted some water. The doctor told me to give him some water because he would not be able to survive. The boy drank happily. When I closed the top of the water bottle and looked at him, he already wasn't breathing. If he had been alive, he would be 60 years old now. Whenever I take a book from the bookshelf, I feel sorry for him.

I am 76 now. I have pains all over my body. But I somehow survived, though I have never been free from hospitals. I don't want my children and grandchildren to see such awful sights. That should never happen again. I feel how lucky I am because I am alive now, even though I have poor health. I would like to dedicate myself to helping people. I worked for 50 years as a nurse. I am old now but still working and helping old people at a day-care center, which is my treasure. I want to keep this happiness. I would like to dedicate myself to helping people for the rest of my life peacefully and I wish I would pass away when my time comes.

The place I settled down at was Motomachi. My experience was published in 1992, not for sale. In 2005, for the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, I wrote some of my experiences in their book. I am over 80 years old now and my memory is getting slim. However, I sometimes tell what I witnessed in the gatherings of old people. I usually read books. There are not so many friends left. Some are hard of hearing and others are already gone. So I have few chances to talk about the A-bomb. When my friends in the neighborhood feel sick, I go to see them with a blood-pressure gauge. I still do my best to keep in touch with them and care for each other.

I would like to live for those who died young and to help others. I have been nursing for 60 years. I would like to work as long as I can. My best wish is for world peace forever. I hope the world will be peaceful without war in the generations to come.

I never want to see those scenes again. I will never forget it. May tomorrow promise to be bright and happy. Wishing the world peace, I still want to be of some use in good shape. I would be happy if everyone will read my experiences.