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For Those Who Pray for Peace
The Misery of Hiroshima Atomic Bomb
- Patricia Hisae. Hirata(maiden name, Mukai)
55th Graduating Class of Hiroshima Jogakuin High School before the war,
1st Graduating Class of College of English
Residing in California,U.S.A.
It was on August 6. 1945.
I was a middle school student in Hiroshima. Under the command of the Japanese imperial army, even middle school students were working at a military goods manufacturing factory instead of studying in a classroom. The students were to fill the void of the workers sent to the battle front. Therefore, a 14 years old girl like myself was operating the machinery to make rifles.
On August 5, the night before the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, I, /with my two older sisters were watching the night sky from the window upstairs. It was so calm and stars were so beautiful that I felt as if they were showering on us. Three sisters spent time together counting the comets. We never saw so many comets before. We were indeed blessed that evening. Yet, who knew. The clear evening sky was an omen of a sunny morning the next day..
August 6 was a bright sunny morning. I arrived at the factory early, and went outdoors with friends to drink water from the faucet. It all happened at that moment.
We were exposed to a sudden intense light, as if a giant magnesium photo flash was burned. I turned around and saw a huge fireball joined by a giant mushroom cloud. It was approaching us very fast. So we dashed into the building. No sooner than we got inside, the bomb blast cane. When the dust settled glass was shattered all over as if a tornado had hit us. We could not imagine what had happened. The factory was located a little over two miles from the Atomic Bomb epicenter, but fortunately nobody suffered visible physical injury.
After a while we went outdoors and saw many injured people. Their clothing was torn, and they were walking past us to the countryside. Nobody knew what had happened. Since all were so badly burned we guessed, "The Americans might have dropped a new type of bomb mixed with oil."
We could do nothing at the factory, and our teacher instructed us to go home. We cried at a loss of what to do. Because we heard the city was totally engulfed in flames, and there was no transportation to go home. We finally formed groups by districts and decided to walk home. My home was towards the west and I decided to take the road / over the mountain.
As we started walking home, we saw the sky over Hiroshima City stained orange by the burning flames. Fond memories of the city suddenly vanished. Although it was almost sixty years ago, I can clearly recall the horror of that day so vivid in my memory.
On the mountain road we met soldiers after soldiers. They were badly burned with skins barely hanging on their body. Some had their uniform blown off by the explosion, and they were nearly naked. Their silent march towards death was eerie and unimaginable. A soldier said to the fourteen years old girls crying, "You are Japanese. Be brave and stop crying."
Our house was near the foot of the mountain. The fire thankfully had stopped burning at the house next door. Yet the roof was partially blown off, and the blue sky was visible from indoors. My mother suffered great injury from the flying glass. There were dying citizens outdoors begging for water. I had difficulty believing their voices were coming from human beings.
One of my sisters did not return home that night, and we prayed for her safe return. Four days latter on August 10th we received a message from the refuge center that she was there. My brother went on bicycle and brought her home.
When I saw her my heart almost stopped. Her condition was far worse than the victims I saw before.
Her face arms not protected by the clothing were charred black and swollen to double its size. And maggots were crawling in her wounds. My brother picked them out one by one with tweezers. My sister thanked him saying, "When you become like myself, I will repay you." My brother with a smile answered, "No thanks. I don't want to be / like you."
Three days latter, my sister thanked everyone / and died. She was 19 years of age. We loaded her body on a hand truck, and went to the nearby park. We dug a hole, and laid her over fire wood. Our father stayed by himself to cremate his own daughter. The bodies not identified were piled ten together for joint cremation.
The nearest kinship kept cremating their loved ones daily till the late fall. Many who appeared healthy, suffered from radiation poisoning, and continued to die one after another. We spent days/ with a fear of whom would share the destiny the next day.
The Atomic Bomb casualty does not end at once. It is harmful to human beings for generations thereafter. There is a great gap in the number of the victims announced by the United States and Japan. The Atomic Bomb brought unthinkable grave disaster and misery to the people of Hiroshima. It appears that the US leaders are trying to downplay the ill effects, knowing that it had been an inhuman act contrary to a nation founded on Christian belief.
Many who perished instantly were senior citizens, infants, children and women. They were non-combat citizens like you and myself. I am of the belief that, if /the US government had truly intended to end the war quickly, the Atomic Bomb could had been dropped in the remote mountain or at a beach instead of populated cities like Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
Two days ago, the NHK Japanese television reported the Atomic Bomb victims totaled 237 thousands. A startling figure, isn't it?
Whenever I think of the agonizing death of the victims, I am grateful to God for allowing me to live to this date.
I, a first hand witness of the terror of the nuclear disaster, firmly believe and pray that any use of nuclear bombs or missiles be prohibited permanently by all nations. It is to protect the wellness of all ----- -- human, animal, and nature on earth, --------- all created by God.
…74 years old