Thursday, October 6, 2011

Nagasaki Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum

After a few very busy months of helping repair ships stationed here in Sasebo, Josh was able to take a few days off at the end of September to do some fun things with the family. The girls and I had been a few places without him  and enjoyed visiting those places, but it was time to get Josh in on the fun. After he scheduled his leave, I asked him where he'd like to go. Immediately he said he wanted to go to Nagasaki and see the Atomic Bomb Museum and the Peace Park. Luckily for us, Travel and Tours had a trip to Nagasaki the week he had leave. I have to say that I was very happy to have a tour guide and a bus that drove me to the places I needed to go and that I didn't have to try and navigate my way around Nagasaki. The bus tour was a great experience and we will do it again for sure..
 Now on to the topic of this post...
   Our first stop was the Nagasaki Peace Park. I wasn't sure what to expect, since I didn't ever pay attention to my history teacher in high school, which is undoubtedly where I should have learned all about this.  Anyway.. off I go rambling again..

This statue was donated to the city of Nagasaki as an appeal for world peace and a prayer that something like the atomic bombing would never happen again. The elevated right hand points to the threat of nuclear war, while the out stretched hand symbolizes tranquility and world peace..The folded right leg symbolizes quiet meditation and the left leg is ready for action in assisting humanity.
This was such a magnificent sculpture and the entire park as so quiet and tranquil. The day was nice, warm and the wind was calm. I was pleased that I got to snap this reflection of the statue in the water below..

This next photo was taken by Elliot. Both girls were very interested in all of these paper cranes and wanted to know what they were for and why they were on both sides of the statue. 

We later learned, that these tiny cranes made from origami paper, are believed to bring good luck to whom ever folds 1,000 cranes.  Many children who were dying from the atomic bombing, folded cranes in hopes that if they folded 1,000, they would have healing before death.  The girls thought that was really sad and Elliot just couldn't get over the idea of children dying.

Further on down through the park, we found the Fountain of Peace...

 It gave me chills when I read that it was created so that there would be no more thirst for  those who died begging for water. Of course I don't believe those people are still feeling thirst or pain, but it was chilling to think about. The water sprays up in the shape of angel wings, to symbolize the people who died and are now angels.
Josh got this great view all the way through the park back to the statue..

After the Peace Park, we walked toward the Atomic Bomb Museum. On our walk to the museum, we came upon the "ground zero" of sorts. This monument marked the exact spot that the atomic bomb made  impact. It was absolutely amazing to me, that I was standing in the very spot that this bomb came crashing down, destroyed an entire city and killed so many people.

The close up view of the memorial. People have left water bottles to cure the thirst of the people who were begging for water before they died and offering of flowers sympolizing peace. The black box under the flowers and water symbolized a coffin for everyone who died.

This blew me away too. I understand that this atomic bomb was large and impacted a huge city in a horrible way, but when I see that the ground level was where the blue and white arrow is and realize that after the bomb exploded the ground level is down where that river is, it's a very powerful photo.

Below is a replica of the atomic bomb..

       Once we entered the museum we saw some very interesting and very sad things. We saw pictures of severely injured people and burned children. I tried to sheild Elliot from this area, as I thought she was a little too young to see those images. However, she asked me if she could see them, so I took her back and looked at them with her. After she looked at a few photos and I read her the captions, she whispered to me and said, " Mommy, this is so mean! Why would people hurt people like this?" So I explained in 6 year old terms what had happend with Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. I don't know she she fully understands it still, but she has an idea. 

The picture above is a story told by a young girl who's sister was trapped under a fallen house and her mother's heroic attempt to save her. It brought tears to my eyes to think of how scared they must have been and how awful it was to lose so many people they loved.

    These next three pictures were taken on top of Mt. Inasa, which overlooks Nagasaki City. The view was amazingly beautiul and also very humbling. When I look at how expansive this city is and realize that everything inside of the moutain I was standing on and the mountains on the other side of the city were completely decimated, I am floored.  I am astounded at the massive power one bomb twice the height of my husband had, the devistation it created and the loss of life it caused.

I may have ignored my history teacher when I was in highschool, but I can't ignore history now. I hope one day when our girls are older and start learning about Pearl Harbor, Nagasaki and Hiroshima, that they look back on this trip and can share their feelings, experiences in Japan and photos we've taken with their classmates. 

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing opportunity to see/experience this. Thanks for sharing it. I can't fully comprehend the magnitude of that event either.