Tuesday, May 10, 2016

President Obama to Visit Hiroshima Memorial

In a historic move, President Obama will become the first sitting American President to visit the Hiroshima Memorial. He is expected to be joined by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Peace Memorial Park near Ground Zero Hiroshima. This has long been an expressed  personal desire on the part of President Barack Obama to visit the site memorializing the over 125,000 people who died there during the atomic attack on the city August 6th, 1945. This visit of course is not without it's controversy. Racist detractors here at home have already condemned the unprecedented visit as some "apology tour." The White House has made it crystal clear that this in no way represents an apology for the then deemed essential bombing that shortened the war. Some people will say what they will in an effort to discredit the first Black American President and others will rehash old hatreds that go back to the outbreak of WWII. From our perspective, we see this as pointless as re-fighting a war that we had long won some 70 years ago. Then again we live in a country where these same people riot and burns our own cities when they win sports championships which makes absolutely no sense at all. Go figure.
There will be no doubt there will be many more strong reactions to come (predictably negative) from those on the right. Be it politically motivated or by those who can not bury ancient rancor or hostility for a people they neither know, understand, or feel anything for much less want to. For the rest of us, it is better to consider the of the horrors of nuclear war and better ways to prevent future use of such destructive weapons. It is through such gestures of enduring peace that the memory of those lost by this horrific tragedy of war never be forgotten nor such horrors repeated. To date no U.S. President has visited Hiroshima and until recently had only been visited by the last two U.S. Ambassadors and Secretary of State John Kerry as seen in the above photo. 
It is honorable to pay respects to the dead particularly for these mostly civilian non-combatants of Hiroshima who suffered as the result of wars consequences that were far beyond their control. We have been fortunate enough to befriend a few living Hibakusha that are still alive to tell the tale of what it was like to experience a hell on earth that we shall hopefully never know. I guess to say that there is a stark contrast between Japanese and American people on how they view the bombing. For some some Americans, they can not get past the attack on the part of Japan on Pearl Harbor. For those who actually survived the bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki, they wish only peace in the world and bear no grudges against America. People can learn a thing or two from these few living survivors. We get it, they get it, the President gets it, and hopefully some of you will also get it. Our Hibakusha were merely school children when they watched their families die both from the initial blast and from the following suffering from radiation sickness. They will gladly share you their tales and their scars in hope that it brings peace. They know what the President's visit is about. In fact there has been a letter campaign to bring President Obama to Hiroshima which has now borne fruit. But for those who need further reassurance, White House spokesman Ben Rhodes is quoted as saying: "He (President Obama) will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II. Instead, he will offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future." We at American Mishima applaud President Obama for his efforts. May there never be more future Hibakusha and no more Hiroshimas. Peace.

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