..September 2008 Nagasaki..
3 days in Nagasaki. Not many foreigners wandering around. Haven’t wandered to far away from the epicenter area. 15 minute walks in different directions. Still a lot of history visible. More history if you ask people to tell you their story.
Took a 10 minute walk. Crossed the river to the Shiroyama Elementary School. Located 500 meters from the epicenter. It’s a concrete building that was almost completely destroyed. But it’s one of a small handful of structures that had something left. It was reinforced after the reconstruction.
Walked through the damp cement classrooms. It serves as a museum/art exhibition. Rooms full of paper cranes and old photographs of the building before and after.
29 teachers and 110 students were killed instantly at the site. 1,400 school children, who were at their homes at the time of the bombing 11:02AM, were also killed. It’s a school but also a sacred ground for the children who perished here. It was there final resting place.
I thought about the children who once inhabited these rooms. They were attending school like any normal day. Innocent children.
….The present students in the classrooms at the new school built 50 feet from the Surviving building. How do you understand the story of what happened here when your that young? I don’t know if it’s possible until you’ve grown older.
This is the reality many don’t understand unless they take a trip to Nagasaki and speak to people.
We walked around the grounds. The school is perched on the side of a steep hill. The entrance looks like the opening of an orchard. Buildings hidden behind a wall of thick green foliage basking in the long hot humid Nagasaki summer.
Walked past an auditorium filled with young students. A type of assembly. Walked around a soccer field with swings. Imaged empty swings 64 years ago.
The same scene could have been occurring on August 9th, 1945 as today. An ordinary school morning. Children sitting in an auditorium not knowing what would happen. Never thinking they wouldn’t live another morning or be able to say goodbye. Children. It’s important to understand what has happened here.