We walked through the Hiroshima Peace Park at ground zero and visited the museum and memorial hall. It was a surreal and emotional experience for all of us. An old man, one of the docents at the museum, asked us our country of origin when we entered. With a smile he nodded and greeted us when Jo said “USA”. We wondered if they have made their peace with Americans. At the museum there were a lot of Japanese school kids on field trips, with open notebooks and pencils in hand. The overriding sentiment was sadness. Most of the exhibits and stories had to do with the day of. What was it like when 60,000 lives ceased to be within a few seconds of 08:10 on August 6th of 1945, and what happened to the others in the following hours and days.
When we exited the museum, the old man gave Vivian and Evan a couple of the famous origami cranes of peace. There wasn’t a dry eye around.
Later, as their writing assignments, Vivian and Evan wrote about their visit. Evan focused on the technicalities of the bomb – the design of Thin Man versus Fat Boy, radioactivity, critical mass, etc. Vivian wrote as if she survived the bomb and returned home to find her little brother dying.