I woke up today to more snow! Still nothing heavy enough to actually cover the ground, but just walking around in it was wonderful.

Can you see the snow? See it!?

This morning my first stop was a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. It’s one thing to read about the bombing of Hiroshima, but to see images and actual artefacts gave me a new understanding of the level of destruction in the city. The museum in itself is such a strong argument for peace and abolishing nuclear weapons and testing. I wonder if everyone in the world could experience this place, how it might change the world.

There’s a collection of letters from the Mayors of Hiroshima who have all written letters over the years in protest of every nuclear test around the world. The sign says there are 597 as of July 20, 2011 but there are two more on stands written since then to President Obama.

Protest Letter to President Obama

Melted and fused roof tiles

Tiny cranes folded using a needle by Sadako

After visiting the museum I walked over to the National Peace Memorial Hall of the Atomic Bomb Victims which was recommended to me as a must see that people often miss. I thought that the museum was heart wrenching but that was nothing compared to how moved I was at the Memorial Hall.

Monument depicting the time of the bombing '8.15' surrounded by rubble

You first enter at the top of a stone slope that circles the outside of the remembrance hall. A high wall encases the hall itself and as you walk down you can hear moving water and your steps echo through the empty space. There are a few signs as you go down, explaining the history and effects of the bombing. You walk counter-clockwise which represents regressing through time to the day of the bombing.

When you reach the bottom you enter the memorial hall to see a fountain in the middle which is designed to represent a clock showing 8.15, the time the bomb was detonated over Hiroshima. This fountain and another one above ground are dedicated to the victims who died crying out for water.

All around you is beautiful stonework showing a panoramic view of the A-bombed city from the hypocenter. The panoramic image is made up for 140,000 tiles which is the number of people estimated to have died by the end of 1945. And underneath this are the names of each neighbourhood that exists in Hiroshima at the time and the lower the names appear the closer they were to the hypocenter.

The next room has a wall filled with screens that display the photos and names of the victims. There are also computers where you can search for the names of victims.

Then upstairs is a temporary exhibition area where there are memoirs of victims and survivors that you can read. There were several reading stations with 3 or 4 stories at each. I only went to two of the reading stations, because the stories were so moving and sad it was difficult to keep going. I could hear other people crying as they were reading as well. If you ever visit Hiroshima please don’t miss the memorial hall in your visit. We should all be praying for world peace.

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