Hiroshima, the A-Bomb Dome ©Solange Hando
On 6th August 1945 at 8.05 am, 'Little Boy', the first atomic bomb, was dropped over Hiroshima, killing 70,000 people outright, mostly civilians, and as many again from radiation in the following months and years.
War crime or justified, the controversy goes on but there was nothing 'little' about what hit Hiroshima that fateful morning. The epicentre was the Shima hospital and the building above the closest to remain standing, in part.
The A-Dome is now on the World Heritage list as a witness to the tragedy and a stirring symbol of hope for a future free of nuclear destruction.
The Children's Peace Monument, Hiroshima ©Solange Hando
Beyond the Dome, the Peace Memorial Park has the same dual purpose with a special area dedicated to the thousands of children who died as a result of the bomb.
The monument (above) shows a young girl holding a crane. Her name was Sadako Sasaki and it is said that while she was in hospital waiting to get better, she folded 1000 paper cranes. She died of leukemia at the age of 12 and paper cranes have become a symbol of peace. They are sent by children from all over the world to be displayed in glass cases around this monument.
Peace Concert in Hiroshima ©Solange Hando
On ground laid to waste by the bomb, the Peace Park was open in 1955, a place to wander around near the river, relax and reflect as you take in the memorials, the Peace Bell or the Mound containing the ashes of 70,000 unidentified victims.
The nearby museum is a silent sobering place, beyond comprehension for most visitors, but just as moving on my visit was a small concert outside where hymns such as 'Amazing Grace' sent shivers down your spine yet gave you with hope for the future.
The above piano was rescued from the bomb site.
The Cenotaph in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park ©Solange Hando
This concrete cenotaph contains the names of all known victims.
It is in alignment with the A-dome and the Eternal Flame lit in 1964, which will burn continuously until the world is free from the threat of nuclear destruction.
Paper Cranes in Hiroshima Peace Park ©Solange Hando
'I will write peace on
and you will fly
all over the world.'