JAPAN – U.S. forces bombed Hiroshima 67 years ago today, August 6, 2012, and more than 50,000 people, including the grandson of President Harry Truman, Clifton Truman Daniels, attended today’s commemoration ceremony.
Also in attendance was Ari Beser, grandson of radar operator Jacob Beser, the only person who directly took part in both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.
There to commemorate the goal of peace through all nations, approximately seventy countries sent representatives to gather near the epicenter of the 1945 blast that killed as many as 140,000 people at the time of the bombing and from injuries and subsequent radiation radiation fallout.
Prior to the bombings, on 11 July, the Allied leaders had come to agreements, the Potsdam terms, in regard to Germany and the ending of the conflicts, demanding the surrender of Japanese forces. It was stated that without Japan’s unconditional surrender, “the alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction”.
Japan refused and President Harry Truman ordered the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945) while Soviet Forces invaded Manchuria, defeating the Kwantung Army, the largest Japanese fighting force.
Following the memorial Clifton Daniel declined to comment on President Truman’s decision saying to Japan’s Kyodo news service:
“I’m two generations down the line. It’s now my responsibility to do all I can to make sure we never use nuclear weapons again,” he said, according to Japan’s Kyodo news service.
A statement by Daniel, 55, made earlier said that “he decided to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki because he needed to know the consequences of his grandfather’s decision as part of his own efforts to help achieve a nuclear-free world.”
Kazumi Matsui, Hiroshima’s mayor remarked that Japan “must take a bolder role in leading global disarmament efforts” calling on other world leaders to come to his city to “contemplate peace.”
“I firmly believe that the demand for freedom from nuclear weapons will soon spread out from Hiroshima, encircle the globe, and lead us to genuine world peace,” he said.
Matsui noted that the average survivor of the bombing is now 78 years old, and said the city is increasing its effort to provide them with health care and chronicle their experiences so the events of that day are remembered.
From the destruction of Hiroshima comes a place, and peoples from around the world, dedicated to the prospect of world peace. As thousand of colorful origami cranes, created by school children in honor of a young girl Sadako Sasaki, who died of leukemia ten years after the atomic bombing, flutter in the wind, so does all our hopes for world peace free of nuclear weapons.
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