You walk through the center of the city where the atomic bomb exploded, an area that is now the Peace Park. There are ginkgo trees growing there now. The trees and vegetation surprised me because, honestly, I thought nothing could ever grow again where there had been a nuclear explosion.
There are fountains and memorials and a huge peace bell -- all visual, lasting reminders of how dedicated the people of Hiroshima are to their commitment that an atomic bomb must never be used again.
Children bring chains of folded peace cranes and hang them in the park. People relax on benches and walk the paths and bicycle through the park on their way to work and home.
The museum has a carefully structured movement, almost like a path, that you follow as the enormity and horror of the bombing unfolds in dioramas, maps, artifacts, and storyboards. You see the flattened buildings, realize that things disappeared into the nuclear nightmare, and come to the compelling gut-wrenching understanding that many, many people died due to the horribleness of an atomic bomb.
Blame is absent from the Museum. What is there is an awesome commitment on the part of the people of Hiroshima and Japan that there must never be another nuclear annihilation like Hiroshima and Nagasaki again.
This week, on the 67th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, I want my voice to join those who say "never again."
Never, ever again.
Wanda Hayes Eichler