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For Those Who Pray for Peace
My Brother, Covered in Burns
- Nobuko Sacho (maiden name, Mugita)
1st Graduating Class of Hiroshima Jogakuin College of Health
Residing in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima prefecture
The students of Hiroshima Jogakuin College were assigned to the Student Mobilization Workforce, which meant we worked without a summer break. That morning, as always, I took the Ujina Line streetcar to Hiroshima Station from my home in the city and transferred to a train on the Sanyo Line to Mukainada Station. Then I walked to the Toyo Kogyo (currently, Mazda). At the factory I made parts for guns and weapons. I arrived at the factory at 8 o'clock, and just as I was getting ready to work, there was the flash "Pika" and a blast "Don". Instantly I ducked under the worktable. All of the windows in the factory shattered into pieces, and my friends who were near the windows got glass stuck in their faces. After a little while, the teachers and factory managers instructed us to go outside. We saw a large mushroom cloud rising over the city of Hiroshima.
Soon, burn victims arrived in a truck and were put of the floor in the factory. We were told to administer first aid, but there was no medicine. People were begging for water, but back then we were told that giving water to burn victims would aggravate their condition, so we couldn't ease their thirst. All we could do was soak cloths in mechanic's grease and apply it to the burned flesh.
In the afternoon we were told to return to our homes, and I went to Mukainada Station, only to find that the trains weren't running. I walked with my friends to Hiroshima Station. I don't remember how many hours it took, but the sky was still light. The whole city was completely burned down. I walked to my house, which was near the Army Ordnance Supply Depot (factory for military weapons) on the east side of Mt. Hijiyama. The house managed to survive the fire, but the blast had shattered the windows, overturned the tatami mats, and had knocked over the furniture.
I realized my mother was gone. She had gone to search for my brother who was working at the building demolition site in Zakoba-cho. While she was gone, a young boy came into the house. He was covered in burns from head to toe. I didn't recognize that he was my brother until he said his name. After the blast, some soldiers had picked him up, along with those at the work site who were still alive. He was taken to an armory and put down on the floor to rest, but he received no medical care or help. Soon he realized how close he was to home, so he walked back. My mother eventually returned home. without getting past the west side of Mt. Hiji because it was on fire.
My brother passed away the following morning. My mother, my sister and I took my brother's remains and returned to our hometown in Fukuyama city on August 9.
… 78 years old