On August 6th 1945, at approx 8.15 in the morning, the Enola Gay flew over downtown Hiroshima and dropped Fat Man, the first atomic bomb to be used in a war. In a flash of nuclear fire, 90,000 lives were immediately snuffed out and, within a week, the death toll had risen to approximately 150,000. An entire city wiped out in an instant.
Today I visited Hiroshima Peace Park, the site of that horrific event. Feeling doleful and somber, I attempted to imagine what it was like to be there at that moment when hell fire rained down from the sky. Thankfully, I think the human imagination can only stretch so far and to try and envisage that level of suffering and agony would surely bring insanity as its price. Despite my minds limitations, being there was a sobering, poignant experience.
The park itself is beautiful and the monuments that have been erected to honour the dead are quietly understated and modest, a stark contrast to the level of terror those poor souls must have felt in their final moments. I pray to the depths of my soul that this is an event that will never be repeated but, with the grim knowledge that we could all be wiped out in seconds gives one a sense of focus on the present, moment by moment.
I think it’s important to consider one’s own death, I feel its perfectly natural in fact, but society seems to abhor the notion, as if drowning ourselves in distractions and sensory pleasures will somehow stave off this most inevitable of conclusions. Truly, death is the one thing we can be sure will happen, everything else is ethereal and subject to chance. Considering one’s own death gives one an appreciation of life in all its finite glory and puts all the petty problems and dramas into perspective. Visiting somewhere like this only confirms this for me.