You read blogs so I know that, like me, you know how moving the written word can be. Often the skill of the writer transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. Today I have been reading words that, without artifice of any kind, wrung my heart.
I sat in an archive in Hiroshima and read the translated accounts of the day of the bombing.Â One witness wrote of how he had been caught in the blast with a group of school friends. They were trapped beneath a collapsed building.Â Injured himself, he dug two friends free. But others called to him from beneath the rubble, begging to be rescued. Fire was spreading quickly and, unable to save those crying his name, he ran and ran until he was in the suburbs. He ran past people whose clothes had beeen burned away and whoseÂ skin hung from their fingernails. TheyÂ called to him, desperately asking him to take them with him. He ran on without stopping.
When he has finishedÂ telling his story, he turns himself to entreaty; begging those he left behind to forgive him. There on the page, in a few words, is expressed an unimaginable pain – an unearned shame that he has never been able to come to terms with – desperate for a forgiveness that can never be granted.
Hiroshima is full of folded paper cranes. Here isÂ the story behind them: A girl who was 2 when the bomb was exploded, developed Leukaemia at 10. She was told that anyone who folded a thousand paper cranes would have a wish come true. She died before she could complete the task. Her school friends then campaigned successfully to have a memorial erected to the child victims of the bomb. Schoolchildren send cranes that they have foldedÂ to be left at the memorial.
This picture is of paper cranes left at the feet of the angel that is at the centre of the Children’s Memorial.
These cranes are at the mound where the ashes of 70,000 casualties are interred.
This last picture is of the hypocentre. The bomb exploded 600 m above this spot. I expected to see the sky broken in some way.