Anyways, about two weeks ago I went to Hiroshima to listen to a speaker talk about her experience when the atomic bomb dropped. She was 14 years old at the time, and she had been activated with all of the other children her age at the time to work in wartime factories. She was only a few kilometers from the hypocenter when the bomb dropped and she was trapped under the machines that she had been tasked with working at because of the impact of the explosion.
This women has seen more suffering than anyone else I have ever met before in my life and the only thing I could think about during this was that this lady was using an extremely humble form of speech, and most of my friends would never notice that. It made me very uncomfortable. I don't claim responsibility for the dropping of the atomic bombs as an American, nor do I think that that image should be attached to Americans of my generation either, but I still claim to be a citizen of the country that destroyed her world, and for that reason I was very unsettled by the fact that she was using this manner of speaking to almost put us, the listeners on a pedestal. I mentioned it to my teacher, and he told me that he was glad I noticed and that he hoped I would understand that this lady only wants other people to learn from this experience. She doesn't have any intentions of pointing fingers at anyone. That was the most impacting part of what I learned from her. Nobody should ever have to experience anything like that.
This is the Genbaku dome. It is the last building in Hiroshima standing after the atomic bomb dropped, and it serves as a symbol to remind us of the horror that comes from war.
I have to say I am very thankful for this lady having shared what she did with me and my classmates, because this is the type of feeling I want to bring home with me from my time abroad. I saw a facebook status recently saying : Random person is now at Hiroshima ground zero. I won't say who it is (hence the random person part) but it made me extremely angry when I read it. I was sick to my stomach that someone would make a joke like that, but that is only because that person doesn't understand. I know now that I won't let anyone talk like that around me ever again.
I did have the good fortune of getting selected to be one of the groups of people that presented gifts to the Speaker. I got to be at the front of the line to meet her. That was all thanks to Raghda, who was chosen by Dr. Scott to give the Speaker the present and who was nice enough to let me tag along! That is one of the only times that I considered not washing my hand ever again, but I forgot and washed it after I went to the bathroom. Force of habit I guess.
Anyways, I will try and post a nicer blog post probably tomorrow. I still have quite a bit of story telling to do, so get your reading glasses out Dad, and anyone else who is as old as Dad.