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For Those Who Pray for Peace
A Scene from Hell

Mineko Komatsu (maiden name, Ogura)
51st Graduating Class of Hiroshima Jogakuin High School before the war,
1st Graduating Class of College of Health
Residing in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa prefecture

 Nearly 60 years have passed since the end of the war. It is surprising to me that I have lived so long.
 In April of 1944 I started attending Jogakuin College. At the end of the second semester, I was assigned to the Student Mobilization Workforce and began living in the dormitories of the munitions factory at Amagasaki. Every day, I made parts for flight instruments in the assembly line. I lived in constant fear of the rifle rakes during the frequent air raids. I returned to Hiroshima in March of 1945 and was immediately summoned to Toyo Kogyo (currently Mazda) in Mukainada. I was covered in oil every day as I made parts for guns on a lathe. This is how I came to that unforgettable day.

 At 8:15 a.m. on August 6 there was a bright red flash accompanied by a thunderous explosion that threw us against the walls of the factory. The windows in the room were blown out and shattered. I did not know what had happened. Now as I look back, I realize this was the moment my friends and teachers, who were on campus in the city, lost their precious lives.

 My walk home was a miserable and hellish one. People whose faces were purple and swollen to twice their size; those whose skin was peeled off completely; injured folks in torn clothes, they all staggered towards the mountain for refuge. Bodies lay everywhere, burned so black that I couldn't tell whether they were male or female. The rivers were stacked with people in search of the water flowing under the pile of bodies.

 The next day my father and I walked around the city in search of my brother, who was working at the Army Clothing Depot (factory for military uniforms). Men from the Citizen's Defense Reserve were using a pickaxe to roll the bodies and gather them in a pile. The bodies looked like charred mannequins. Flies buzzed around people's infected injuries. There were maggots growing in the wounds. Some lay on the ground and occasionally with their last bit of energy begged, "Water! Wat…" There were bodies of mothers burned to death sitting in a fire cistern while still clutching their young ones. How can I forget such a dreadful sight?

 We must not allow the use of nuclear weapons. I pray for the world to become a peaceful planet soon. May the souls of the victims rest in peace.

… 78 years old