The bomb, Bert and Hiroshima

Trillions of words and images have shown the world the fate of Hiroshima – the first city and people in the world to be hit by a nuclear bomb.
The Peace Park and Peace Boulevard built over the ashes of the destruction of the city are dignified, beautifully designed and burn into the memory.
People of the city combined virtual immediate recovery and rebuilding efforts with campaigning to try and ensure no other people would suffer as they and the citizens of Nagasaki did.
After more than 6 hours we could add reams to what has all been written but will confine it to a few fragments.
I had never realised that 10 per cent of those who died were Korean.
The more than 10,000 victims were soldiers, civilians and labourers there largely as a result of Japan’s occupation of Korea.
Others who died were from Japanese occupied China and south east Asia – as well as US servicemen.
A common assumption was that the city and the people were totally flattened.
Not true.
As thousands of refugees poured out of the city thousands of rescue workers from the surrounding areas poured in and helped get electricity and trams running within days.
The Swiss head of the Red Cross mission Marcel Junod is honoured with a plaque set on black marble.
He persuaded the Allied occupation forces to hand over tons of medical supplies and got stuck in treating bomb victims himself.
The nuclear issue is still being pushed by the city – as tensions rise over Iran’s nuclear programme and huge destructive power is maintained in the US, Russia, the UK, France, China and Israel.
After last Year’s disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power complex questions are still being posed about safety – not least by the mayor of Hiroshima.
The Black Country has also made its contribution to the Peace Park.
Huge rocks – including one taken from Scotland’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, – are arranged below trees close to the river and the iconic bomb dome left standing after the blast.
Engraved marble slabs say they are the result of a 1972 initiative by young people in Dudley and Fort William, Scotland.
It was very much linked to the work of Bert Bissell – a Methodist lay preacher who led the Vicar Street bible class and led parties of young people to the peace cairn at the top of Ben Nevis.
He also forged strong relations with Hiroshima and visited the city in 1972 and later.





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