Part Three

Everyone has their triggers, something which makes you halt in your tracks with a big fat nope… enough is enough… time to slink away…

I passed displays and presentations in humbled silence, reading clips from peoples lives, the mundane transformed into the extraordinary by disastrous events. The pocket watch that had stopped at 8:45am, bottles, shoes, toys, clothes… A scale model city with a scale model bomb.

Then turning a corner, there is a stone step, just a step from a bank. Nothing else, just a step… I looked closer, reading to accompanying blurb… Upon the step was a dark circle, hardly noticeable until you read the information. I was looking at a shadow from the flash, the dark circle, a customer waiting for the bank to open, nothing, absolutely nothing remained to identify this individual. All that left over from their life was a dark circle upon a stone step.

This was my trigger and I *had* to leave! Head down, my pace quickened, but I remained respectfully walking throughout the rest of the museum, following the exit signs with hardly an upwards glance. Fighting to hold back tears and pausing only to sign a deceleration for nuclear dismemberment upon my way out.

I was torn, broken by history and badly needing fresh air!

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As I stepped outside and breathed deeply, I was greeted by the ‘Fountain of Peace’ … I breathed deeply, the sound of running water was refreshing, I felt a cascading wave of relief wash over my very soul.

The peace of the Garden I now stood in was refreshing and even though I would know that that step would remain with me until my end of days, so would the peace I felt afterwards.

My contrasting emotions. The war and the peace. The tragedy and the recovery.

Several streets away from the Garden down a small side street, is an unremarkable stone plinth. No frills or fuss, no attention or drama, just a simple stone plinth. This is the only indication of the actual epicentre, tucked away from the glorious garden, far removed from the museum of tragedy.

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A simple memento – A permanent reminder to the world…  

A. Harrison 29.04.16

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Part Two

Hiroshima 2016 

This is the view from my hotel room, from where I was staying
on the fourth floor of the Sunroute Hotel.

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Just a city view, over a river, concrete structures tumbling off into distant wild hillsides…
… Except … If you look a little closer, right in the centre of this photograph …

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(isn’t my zoom impressive)

You will notice an old ruined structure, rust and naked bricks supported by canvased scaffolding. Protected, yet not restored. This singular unremarkable building looks neglected and forlorn against the backdrop of such modern towering office blocks and thick rich trees.

Yet this building *is* remarkable, it is remarkable because it stands!

Image: A huge expanse of ruins is seen after the explosion of the atomic bomb

Image Source

That is the very same building. As I stood looking over the city from my fourth floor window, I could see this ruin very clearly and at the time I felt hesitant to venture any closer. My mind was a horrible churning of emotions, thick grief for a nation, embarrassment and impressed wonder muddled together as I stood alone in my silence.

I could never begin to imagine the devastation that had transpired at this location, I felt uneasy and uncomfortable. Yet there was nothing tragic in the air of the city today, just the normal fumbling around of people and transport. So I chose to swallow back my hesitation and ventured forth to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

No trigger warnings were issued, not in English anyway, if there were any. Even if there had been, I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the exhibition within.

History, dates, times, events… laid out along in chronological order, presented in the form of photographs, information boards, films on loops, models… The usual examples of displays within a museum… With some extreme exceptions…

Graphic photos of burn victims, ruined clothing, melted glass, warped tricycle, fragments of normal every day life distorted by the horrific events.

Human remains preserved in fluid, scarred skin, tumors,  disfigured fingernails…

I felt my anxiety rising in my chest, my heart quickened, stinging tears began to threaten to spill free as an angry lump made it hard to swallow over my overwhelming swelling emotions. These same emotions causing my fingers to tremble as I type these words, I can feel the same reactions rising now, my toes clenched and I stare at the screen through fresh new tears…

Forgive me if I can not write any more today.

Anne Harrison 28.04.16