There is little doubt that the most moving monuments to peace around the world are those that are linked to moments of great destruction. The Genbaku Dome in Hiroshima is one of those special places, it’s skeleton was preserved by the survivors of one of the greatest single acts of violence that human beings have perpetrated in their history.
That act took place on the 6th August, 1945 when an Atom bomb was dropped on the bustling town of Hiroshima. The explosion destroyed almost completely the commercial and political centre of the city, the Genbaku dome was one of the very few buildings which survived the blast.
The building has not been restored although it has been made safe, and a plaque on the side of the building reads :
Let all the souls here rest in peace. For (we) shall not repeat the evil.
The simple fact is that over 140,000 people lost their lives in that single explosion and people still gather there to commemorate the day. It is a day that changed the world and one that should be remembered particularly as Japan rethinks it’s pacifist ideology which it has adhered to for the past few decades. The issue was examined in depth by a wonderful report on Newsnight from the BBC a few weeks ago, you can watch BBC TV online using this method if you’re outside the Uk and want to catch it.
If you’re ever near Hiroshima, it is a place worth visiting it’s large enough to spend a couple of hours in and the surrounding parks and exhibits are unique. The story of that day are told in words and through surviving remnants. It is a heartbreaking lesson in history, yet perhaps something we should all see.