Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Hiroshima Peace Park

There are a lot of places to see on a trip to Japan, but one location no one should miss is the Peace Memorial Park in downtown Hiroshima.  A beautiful garden speckled with impressive monuments to the victims the Hiroshima bombing, the park is a quiet refuge in the middle of a bustling city.

Memorable sights in the park include the Memorial Cenotaph, a stone box bearing the inscription "Rest in Peace, for the error shall not be repeated."  The Cenotaph contains the names of every victim of the atomic bomb, and each year any who died due to effects of the bomb is added in a solemn ceremony.  Visitors are encouraged to offer a prayer in front of the cenotaph.

Another monument that leaves a lasting impression is the A-Bomb Dome, one of three stone structures left partially standing by the blast and the only pre-bomb building not demolished in the reconstruction of the city.  What was once an architecturally-beautiful government building is now a silent ruin, with even the rubble left as it was to remind the world of the violence of the atomic bomb.  Visitors can walk all the way around the building and reflect on the twisted metal and shattered stone of this haunting monument.

Perhaps the most important part of the Peace Park not to miss is the Peace Memorial Museum.  The museum describes to visitors (in both English and Japanese) the events leading up to bombing, the brutality of the blast itself, the horror of the aftermath, and the continued threat of the terrors of nuclear war.  Here one can learn the complex politics in both Japan and the United States which lead to the bomb, which are offered in full detail without commentary by way of either apology or condemnation.  Artifacts of the bombing that can be viewed including a watch stopped by the blast, 
forever recording the precise time of the first nuclear attack in history.  Visitors can take the time to listen to first-hand accounts recorded by bomb survivors and learn what they can do to help prevent the use of nuclear weapons in the future.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is a somber place, but well-worth a visit.  Ultimately, in visiting the park, one can take the opportunity to experience significant world history while joining in the park's message of hope and peace.  Visitors should schedule some time for quiet reflection at the end of their visit.  I can guarantee they will not regret taking the opportunity to visit this unique memorial.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.