HIROSHIMA, Japan – Hiroshima marked the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing Saturday. Many survivors and those who lost family members in the bombing made the journey to ground zero to pray for the dead, standing under the scorching sunlight just like that morning 60 years ago.

The survivors are 73 years old on average. It is getting difficult for them to pass on their memories to young people. However, the survivors and the families of the victims are determined to do their best to make sure the event is remembered.

One of those attending the ceremony was Tamiko Hida of Toyama Prefecture who was accompanied by her children and grandchildren. Her husband, Sadaharu, who was sent to Hiroshima to take part in the rescue operation immediately after the bombing, died in November at the age of 76.

She was visiting the A-Bomb Dome for the first time and had brought her husband’s ashes with her.

Tamiko said her husband had often told her he wanted to visit the dome. However, he did not have a chance to do so due to poor health.

“I want to tell the younger generations about the importance of peace because I believe that’s what my husband hoped for,” Hida said.

Sadaharu was at a submarine training facility in Otake and was sent to Hiroshima immediately after the bombing where he was exposed to high levels of radiation. After the war, he returned his hometown in Toyama Prefecture.

His 43-year-old son, Masahiko, said he remembered a day in his childhood when he and his father heard the sound of fireworks and his father started talking about the bombing, saying he was in Hiroshima Prefecture when the atomic bomb was dropped, and it was really terrible there.

However, when Masahiko asked his father about his experiences, he refused to talk in detail about them. “He just said, “I don’t think you’d understand,”‘ Masahiko said.

Sadaharu was repeatedly hospitalized because of cancer and other illnesses. He lost the use of his legs after a stroke 20 years ago.

According to his family, whenever he watched the annual ceremony to commemorate the bombing on TV, he said he wanted to see the A-Bomb Dome and what Hiroshima was like.

Tamiko said, “I believe he wanted to visit the dome to bring back the memories of what happened 60 years ago.”

Sadaharu’s daughter Akemi Ishizaki, 49, said, “I think my father wanted to tell us more about his experiences.”

Kahori Hida, 13, the granddaughter of Sadaharu and Tamiko, said, “I felt overwhelmed by the fact that my grandfather was here 60 years ago. I want to talk about the bombing and show photographs to my friends.”

Also at the ceremony was Norihiko Shinoda, 80, who learned that day where his father, Toshio Hakoda, was when the bomb fell.

He learned the details of his father’s last moments at ceremony held for the repose of the souls of the teachers and students of a shipbuilding school in Hiroshima.

The information Shinoda had waited so long for was contained in an 80-page document that was compiled in September 1946 by the school’s principal, but which was not discovered until last year. The spot where Shinoda’s father died is marked on a map with an “X.”

Shinoda had tried unsuccessfully to find where his father was based in Hiroshima after returning to the city from Nagano Prefecture, where he served in the army.

“My father was a dedicated teacher, so I believe he did his best to rescue his students,” Shinoda said.


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