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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Yukiko Okai (female)
'Kyugo hibaku'  / 15 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. Sixty years have passed since I nursed the survivors of the explosion in Hiroshima, yet my heart still aches every time I am reminded of it.
On August 18, 1945, we were mobilized from Tadanoumi Girls' High School, sorted into groups, and headed off to our destinations in buses.
During the ride, everywhere we saw was a burnt field or a mountain of rubble. I was shocked by the small number of buildings left.
The area we covered was Hatsukaichi-shi and the school gymnasium of Jigozen. The entrance to the gymnasium was flooded with people. There were so many bodies lying on the ground that there was hardly any space for us to step on. Each person's face and body had skin peeling off from burns. I could not believe what I saw ― is this an actual person? I had never seen something so shocking.

Our job was to make the disaster victims comfortable, even only a little bit. We did our best to take care of them. Each day was so exhausting that it made my head spin. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner times were especially hard. Even today, there are many memories seared into the back of my mind. Someone once told me in a frail voice, "I do not need rice with soybeans... I just want a bit of porridge..." I promised him, "I will definitely bring you some next time..." The next time, I brought him porridge. I searched the place where he was before. I could not find him. As I stopped and looked around, I saw a face covered by a white handkerchief. For a while, I just stood there paralyzed.
Hell like this continued every day. It was a tragic experience that I will never be able to forget. The horror of atomic bombs, the horror of war ― such things should never happen again. I prayed from my heart for a society where war and atomic bombs do not exist. I swore that a peaceful society will be achieved.