We recently visited the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Yes, Hiroshima as in, the city the Americans dropped the atomic bomb on during WWII. The city of Hiroshima which was considered unlivable for at least 70 years after the bomb was dropped because of the radioactive dangers surrounding the area. The city of Hiroshima was alive and well and thriving.
It was incredible to step foot where so much history was present. Our first stop was the Peace Memorial park, a vast area dedicated to the atomic bombing.
The A-Bomb building was absolutely haunting and humbling to see. It was the only standing building after the bomb went off and is currently maintained by the city so that it will be standing forever. It’s as if the city of Hiroshima is saying, “You tried to take everything from us, but this one last thing that did survive is ours and you’re not taking it too.”
Where we ended up spending the majority of our time was the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. It was humbling. I had a heavy feeling in my heart from start to finish as I walked through each exhibit.
Many parents donated their children’s items and stories to the children’s room within the museum. Many kids were on their way to school when the bomb hit and their bodies could be identified by name tags on their uniforms or by the lunch pails they were carrying. Just thinking about sending my kids to school only to have an atomic bomb drop on our city was overwhelming enough for me, I could not imagine the heartache those parents went through mourning their losses.
It made me wonder why we have museums and memorials for heartbreaking moments in history such as the atomic bomb in Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Or WWII and Holocaust museums. Why are we spending time and resources to build these museums, and then our time and resources to walk through them?
Because history is meant to be learned from. There’s a reason history in various forms and time periods is required in most schools! If we’re always looking back on history and satisfied with how everything played out, then we’re not studying it the right way. We do better with what we know and have learned from.
And possibly the most important reason is that these individuals’ stories are meant to be told. They suffered and mourned and lived through important turning points in history, and for that, they should not have to be silenced. They deserve to have everyone hear them loud and clear as they tell their stories giving us the slightest glimpse of their lives during these times. This goes for every survivor at any point in time.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was incredible and rich with information to learn and hear. It will forever be a life-changing moment for me.