Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Remembering Hiroshima

by Father John A. Siemes

August 6th began in a bright, clear, summer morning. About seven o'clock, there was an air raid alarm which we had heard almost every day and a few planes appeared over the city. No one paid any attention and at about eight o'clock, the all-clear was sounded. I am sitting in my room at the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus in Nagatsuke; during the past half year, the philosophical and theological section of our Mission had been evacuated to this place from Tokyo. The Novitiate is situated approximately two kilometers from Hiroshima, half-way up the sides of a broad valley which stretches from the town at sea level into this mountainous hinterland, and through which courses a river. From my window, I have a wonderful view down the valley to the edge of the city.

Suddenly--the time is approximately 8:14--the whole valley is filled by a garish light which resembles the magnesium light used in photography, and I am conscious of a wave of heat. I jump to the window to find out the cause of this remarkable phenomenon, but I see nothing more than that brilliant yellow light. As I make for the door, it doesn't occur to me that the light might have something to do with enemy planes. On the way from the window, I hear a moderately loud explosion which seems to come from a distance and, at the same time, the windows are broken in with a loud crash. There has been an interval of perhaps ten seconds since the flash of light. I am sprayed by fragments of glass. The entire window frame has been forced into the room. I realize now that a bomb has burst and I am under the impression that it exploded directly over our house or in the immediate vicinity.

I am bleeding from cuts about the hands and head. I attempt to get out of the door...
Read the rest at http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/abomb/mp25.htm

See also last year's tribute to Takashi Nagai and the Christians of Nagasaki.



  • At August 09, 2006 12:15 PM, Anonymous Ramone said…

    They broadcasted the peace ceremony at Nagasaki on NHK this morning and I caught the last half hour. Thankfully they also sent out an English broadcast, so I could understand what they were saying.

    The songs, however, were of course in Japanese. I half paid attention to one of them. It was about wishing that a boy who died in the bombing would be alive adn out playing on sports day. They were calling for him, asking him where he was. After the song finished, the commentator said it was written by Dr.Takashi Nagai, whom I wrote about last year on this site.

    A lady who was the president of the Nagasaki hibakusha (Atomic bomb survivors) spoke of how her son died of leukemia at the age of 55 even though he hadn't been born yet when the bombing occurred. She had to live remember how the doctor said that the disease had passed to her son from her.

    A final song was sung, I think the name was "A Thousand Paper Cranes" (you might've read a story about folding paper cranes, about a little girl in Hiroshima named Sadako Sasaki).

    At the end the commentator said that the choir was from the Junshin Girls School... the Christian school that was destroyed in the bombing, where nuns were leading them in reciting psalms when the bombing fell. These were high school or junior high school girls, I think. As I looked at them finish their singing and file away, I realized I might as well be looking at the girls who died in the bombing, because these essentially are their heirs. This is what they looked like. I don't know what to say.

    I'd like to visit Nagasaki someday.


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