If certain events hadn’t happened, you probably could only name one city in Japan, the capital Tokyo (unless you travelled there, are or are from there!) But on August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and three days later another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. It’s important that we all remember the names of these cities, and what happened those days.
Hiroshima had a population of 350,000….that is slightly smaller than the today’s regional municipality of Niagara. When the bomb dropped, it instantly killed 80,000 people. 50,000 people were seriously injured, with another 80,000 injured. For a one mile radius absolutely everything was obliterated. The heat of the bomb burned charred telephone poles almost two miles from the epicentre…it burned any exposed skin. The heat from the bomb ignited fires, which caused a firestorm. The bomb and the fires it caused destroyed 80-90% of the buildings in the city.
With destruction this massive, there was almost no official response to the wounded for a day and a half. Read an eyewitness account by a german priest, which puts a human face to what it was go through this holocaust. http://www.wtj.com/archives/hiroshima.htm There was just an overwhelming amount of suffering, and not enough resources to help even a small fraction of people. You walked by the dying, because there was just too many of them. And then there was radiation sickness. In the weeks and months following the blast, even people who seemed to have survived unscathed, suddenly got sick and died. Estimates vary perhaps another fifty to sixty thousand people died. People died of leukemia and many cancers, and babies were born with birth defects for generations.
So today is a day of mourning for those events…but it also is a reminder that nuclear weapons are very real, and very dangerous. As followers of the Prince of Peace, bombs are an abomination to us. It’s a sin to build a nuclear weapon. It’s a day to raise our voices for peace, and to call for the reduction and elimination of nuclear warfare.
Today’s prayer: God of hope, forgive us for building nuclear weapons, help us to build a world where weapons like these are only history.