On the surface Hiroshima city is a good example of a well-developed and very industrialized Japanese city. Tall buildings, heavy traffic, and very crowded trains filled with busy Japanese commuters on their way to and from work. You can experience the Japanese lifestyle in Hiroshima, no doubt about that.
But the name of the city hides a more terrible side, a side which most people around the world are more aware of. Most of the world is more familiar with the fact that Hiroshima was the place where the first Atomic Bomb in world history was dropped on a city. In the morning of August 6, 2008, we participated in the annual peace memorial ceremony. The ceremony lasted for one hour with a silent prayer and peace bell at 8.15 (the exact time of the A-bomb drop) as its emotional highlight.
The mood was very melancholy and heartfelt during the day. Almost half a million people from Japan and abroad gathered at the ceremony in honour of the 80,000 people that past away on August 6, 1945, the approximately 60,000 people who died in the very first year directly caused of the radiation around Hiroshima and the Hibakusha, the people who survived the bomb with a life of sickness and emotional scars. Everyone of course recognized the all-important theme of the ceremony – Peace.
Prominent persons such as the Prime Minister of Japan, a representative of the United Nations, as well as the mayor of Hiroshima spoke at the ceremony. Among the things they talked about was how important it is not to forget what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in order to avoid the usage of nuclear weapons in the future. To achieve this universal goal it is necessary for countries to be empathic towards each other, even when it is hard to understand different customs and opinions sometimes.
We can not change the past, but by respecting other countries and cultures, we minimize the risk for future wars.
With the hope nuclear weapons never will be used again,
(Christian Damgaard, Denmark)