The atomic bomb hit Hiroshima one morning almost seven decades ago, but the explosion reverberates in the muted prayers of survivors and relatives that came to commemorate the incident.
Among the crowd in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was former US President Harry Truman’s grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel, the first Truman relative to attend an anniversary of the bombings. President Truman authorized the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Daniel will work with Masahiro Sasiki, a survivor of the bombing, towards reconciliation between the two countries. Masahiro’s younger brother, Sadako Sasaki, died of leukemia at age 12. “To honor the dead to not forget and to make sure that we never let this happen again,” Daniel said. Thousands of people, including government officials, gathered at the park to offer silent prayers for the hundreds of thousands killed on and after August 6, 1945.
The commemoration also comes amid swelling anti-nuclear sentiment following the Fukushima crisis. Several people took to the streets to protest against nuclear weapons. Angela Kane, the UN’s high representative for disarmament affairs, read a message from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: “Such weapons have no legitimate place in our world. Their elimination is both morally right and a practical necessity in protecting humanity”.