Thursday, June 12, 2014

Hiroshima - Japan

The A-Bomb Dome, a Word Heritage Site
The A-Bomb Dome was initially built as the Hiroshima Prefecture Commercial Exhibition Hall in 1915. The building was standing within the immediate vicinity of the "ground zero". As can be seeing, the structure was severely damaged by the atomic explosion on the 6th of August 1945.
The structure reminds us of the unprecedented horror and destructive power of nuclear bombs.
  The Hiroshima Prefecture Commercial Exhibition Hall before and after the atomic bomb explosion.  it is one of the very few buildings that remained 'stand up' that day.  The atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima at 8:15 a.m., on August 6th, 1945 the final year of the Second World War, by the U.S. Army.  It was the first dropping of its kind in the world history during combat, and killed about 140.000 of the city population, then estimated at 350,000 people.

The bomb dropped in Hiroshima was approximately three meters long and weighed four tons.  Because  the final bomb was shorter than the initial design, it was dubbed "Little Boy".  It is said that the bomb carried about 50 kilograms of uranium 235, but the instantaneous fission of less than 1 kilogram released the energy equivalent of 16,000 tons of high-performance explosive.  The A-Bomb dome remains as a living witness of such tragic day.

The nuclear weapon "Little Boy" dropped on the city of Hiroshima  exploded about 600 meters above this spot.  It killed about 150,000 people in Hiroshima by the end of 1945 with roughly half of those deaths occurring  on the day of the bombing.  Among these victims -it is said- 15-20% died from injuries or the combined effects of flash burns, trauma, and radiation burns, compounded by illness, malnutrition and radiation sickness.

At the instant of the detonation, the temperature at the center exceeded a million degrees Celcius, generating an enormous fireball. Within 1 sec of detonation, it had extended to its maximum diameter of 280 meters.

The peace flame is another monument dedicated to the victims of the bomb with an additional symbolic purpose to console the spirits of the A-bomb victims.  The flame has been continuously burning since was lit in 1964.  It is said that will remain so until all nuclear weapons on earth are abolished  and the planet is free from the threat of nuclear annihilation. 

The Peace Flame

The Memorial Cenotaph
At the moment of the explosion, an extremely high pressure of several hundred thousand atmospheres was created.  The surrounding air was thrust violently outwards and produced an intensely strong blast.  the blast pressure 500 meters from the hypocenter  was an enormous 19 tons per square meter.  Buildings were crushed and people were blown through the air.  One of the structures that remain stand up was the Hiroshima Prefecture Commercial Exhibition  known now as the A-bomb dome.
The A-bomb Dome seen through the cenotaph and the peace flame.  The cenotaph carries the epitaph in Japanese meaning: "please rest in peace, for [we/they] shall not repeat the error." 

The Memorial Cenotaph, the peace flame and at the end the A-bomb dome (above).


Children Peace Monument
 It is a statue that was based on the true story of Sasaki Sadako and is dedicated to her memory.  Sasaki Sadako was a junior high school girl who died as a result of the radioactive aftereffects of the atomic bombing.  She believed that if she folded 1,000 paper cranes, she would get well.  The statue depicts a girl with outstretched arms and a folded paper crane rising above her.  To this day, people from all over the wold either bring many folded paper cranes to the statue or send ones to the city to replenish the statue.
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