“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” - Albert Einstein
August 6th is Hiroshima Day, the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb named ‘Little Boy’ on Hiroshima by ‘Enola Gay’, a Boeing B-29 bomber, at 8:15 in the morning of Monday, August 6, 1945. After being released, the bomb took about a minute to reach the point of explosion, an altitude of 61 metres above the building that is today called the ‘A-Bomb Dome.’ The explosion is described by the crew of Enola Gay:
“A bright light filled the plane,” said Lt. Col. Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb. “We turned back to look at Hiroshima. The city was hidden by that awful cloud...boiling up, mushrooming.” For a moment, no one spoke. Then everyone was talking. “Look at that! Look at that! Look at that!” exclaimed the co-pilot, Robert Lewis, pounding on Tibbets’s shoulder. Lewis said he could taste atomic fission; it tasted like lead. Then he turned away to write in his journal. “My God,” he asked himself, “what have we done?”
‘Little Boy’ created an enormous amount of energy in terms of air pressure and heat. In addition, it generated a significant amount of radiation (gamma rays and neutrons) that subsequently caused devastating human injuries. The people who saw ‘Little Boy’ describe it thus: “We saw another sun in the sky when it exploded.” The heat and the light from the explosion of ‘Little Boy’ were far greater than any bomb they had ever seen before. When the heat wave reached ground level it vapourised everything before it, including people, for several hundred metres around the hypocentre.
The strong wind generated by the bomb destroyed most of the houses and buildings within a 2.5 km radius. When the wind reached the mountains, it was reflected and on the way back again hit the people in the city centre. The radiation generated by the bomb, not only killed people within days of acute radiation poisoning, but also caused long-term problems to those affected. Many people became sterile, others had genetic problems, which caused the birth of malformed babies or babies that were stillborn.
It is believed that more than 140,000 people died by the end of the year in the Hiroshima region. They were citizens including students, soldiers and many Koreans who worked in factories within the city. The total number of people who have died as a result of the bomb is estimated to be 200,000.
Just three days after the bomb was dropped to Hiroshima, the second atomic bomb called ‘Fat Man’ was dropped on Nagasaki. Though the amount of energy generated by the bomb dropped on Nagasaki was significantly greater than that of ‘Little Boy’, the damage to the city was less than that in Hiroshima due to the geographic situation of the city. It is estimated that approximately 70,000 people in Nagasaki died by the end of the year because of the bombing.
The watch in the illustration above belonged to Kengo Futagawa (59-years-old at the time) who was crossing the Kannon Bridge (1.6 km from the hypocenter) by bicycle on his way to do fire prevention work. He jumped into the river, terribly burned. He returned home, but died on August 22, 1945.
Every year, in Hiroshima, Japan, people float lanterns with prayers, thoughts, and messages of peace down the rivers in commemoration of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. This is my message of hope and peace, sent electronically to Hiroshima and to every other part of the world where human beings that still possess a shred of humanity exist. May the spark of this lantern light a fire in your heart worldwide so that the conflagration may condemn war and the atrocities committed in its name.
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