We walked to the Peace Memorial Museum on September 11, after walking over to the remaining A-bomb dome in Hiroshima. Over 200,000 Japanese civilians died from the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagaski.
It’s one of the most moving museums I’ve ever been to. People from all of over the world, shuffling through the dark-lit exhibits, to learn about the destruction nuclear warfare has on humanity. As I walk through, I hear only sniffles. The distance I felt from the Hiroshima and Japanese people lessened, until they were neighbors. There is a tricycle and children’s school uniforms on display.. the day was normal one second and the next it was hell. So many children. The most moving part of the museum, to me, is an exhibit of drawings done by Japanese people who experienced the nuclear blast. They revisited the memories and drew their moments down 25-30 years after the bombing. The harrowing drawings depict memories from that time, and to me, the bravery to return to those thoughts and draw them on paper seems like one of the greatest feats. It also helps show the horror they witnessed, many of the drawings look like living hell. The saddest drawings were those of regretful moments, like a school teacher unable to save a student from under a bus caught on fire. One scene that was drawn over and over again by different people in different places, was a mother on the ground, covering her baby.
My heart ached while thoughts about how good and evil work in the world swirled in my head. What is the definition of good and evil? How do we judge the two? Why do we continuously drown each other in this type of trauma? Will there ever be a time where we’ve progressed far enough that we will stop hurting other people? Doesn’t it take understanding each other, feeling empathy, to start? Can we move forward in that capacity? What makes us all really different, why do we focus on that? Why is taking innocent life the greatest feat?
We stepped into the afternoon sun wiping away tears, again trying to understand the world. We walked down the river, where bodies floated after trying to get cool from their burning skin.