Column: The Sky On That Day

by Naoki Tahara, Editorial Writer

Everyone who stands at the hypocenter, near the A-bomb Dome, among them students on school trips and visitors from overseas, looks up at the sky. Nothing is found there, simply the sky. Still, people invariably look up. They must be imagining the horrific fireball that blazed above that spot 68 years ago. The hypocenter, with its stone marker, attracts a steady stream of visitors.

A short walk from the hypocenter is Aioi Bridge. The T-shaped bridge was the original target of the atomic bomb. Yesterday morning about 600 people gathered at the bridge to take part in an event in which they gazed up at the sky at 8:15 a.m., the time of the bombing, to mourn the victims. Youthful participants stood there quietly. What were they feeling? What vows did they make to themselves?

At around the same time in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, a memorial service was held in front of the Monument to the A-bombed Teachers and Students of National Elementary Schools. Family members of the victims, along with teachers and elementary school students, offered flowers to the statue of a female teacher carrying an injured child in her arms. She is looking up at the sky, with a glare of anger and despair.

This year’s “Hiroshima Appeals” poster shows a young man in an athlete’s shirt drawn in sumi ink. Is this man looking up to fight back the welling tears on a summer day? Is he expressing the pain and sorrow of losing loved ones?

The sky above Hiroshima remembers that day. Let us look up at the sky and reflect--not merely in August, but year round. Just imagine the sky that day, and it becomes very clear that nuclear weapons are unnecessary and unforgivable.

(Originally published on August 5, 2013)