D-day: Smoke billows 20,000 feet above Hiroshima following the world's first atomic bombing.
The Monuement for the People died in Hiroshima Nuclear Bombing
Takashi Teramoto, who survived the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, recalls that fateful day and its aftermath. August 6, 1945: The date is etched in Takashi Teramoto's mind as the day he evaded death; the day he survived the Hiroshima bombing. Since war had begun, rarely had a day passed without American fighter planes dropping fire bombs on Japanese cities. Children were sent to villages, which were not targeted by the Americans. Fate had other plans in store for 11-year old Takashi. On August 4, Takashi returned to his home in Mitakihon-machi, about two kilometres from Hiroshima, as he had fallen ill. On the fateful day, an alarm rang in Hiroshima declaring the city free from bombing. People rejoiced and life returned to normal. Children took to the streets and played happily. Soon enough, the fighter planes returned. But this did not deter the people. Nothing could stop Takashi and his friend from enjoying their new-found freedom. 8:00 a.m.: Takashi was called home by his mother, who wanted to take him to a doctor. His father and elder brother had gone to work. His sister and her husband had settled far from Hiroshima. Blinding flash Takashi, now 76 years old, has a vivid memory of what happened next. “As I sat on the doorway of my house, I became aware of a sudden blinding flash. Soon, everything around me turned dark. I crouched on the floor unaware of what would happen next. I could see things falling all around me. After what seemed like a long time to me, I got up and saw destruction everywhere. My house was reduced to rubble. Bloody-faced, I looked around and searched for my mother, but could not find her anywhere,” recalled Takashi. He was rescued by a neighbour, who promised to search for his mother once calm returned. They accompanied a group, which fled to escape the engulfing flames. “I caught a glimpse of a lady, who was stuck amid the destruction. She was helpless and unable to move anything but her head. Her face has haunted me since,” said Takashi. As they fled, droplets of black rain fell. Takashi's neighbour used a cloth to protect him, but was drenched. She died two months later succumbing to the burns caused by the rain. Soon the group got to a safer place. Takashi found his friend, whom he had last seen in his hometown. His clothes appeared to be in tatters. Takashi never expected what he saw next. Shreds of skin began to peel off from his friend's body. Takashi lost his friend after three days. Takashi, later, learnt from his sister that his mother was found at a river bank close to home. Unable to recover from her severe injuries, she died on August 15, 1945, nine days after the bombing. Aftermath “It took us several months to recover from the trauma. Many lost their loved ones. A large number of people suffered from the impact of the nuclear attack. Watching people vomiting blood and becoming infested with rashes all over their bodies was common. The official death toll claimed that about 140,000 people died until the end of the year. But, many more died in the subsequent years. Several continue to suffer the effects up to this day,” pointed out Takashi. Sixty-five years have passed since that tragic day. Awareness programmes and seminars are held annually. Takashi spoke at one such function at the Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam, Kerala, recently. Yet nuclear powers continue to build their arsenal. Disasters like Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986 have claimed many innocent lives. “The bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed us the magnitude of a nuclear attack. Nuclear deterrence is not the only door to peace. Contentious issues should be discussed with foresight on the consequence of another catastrophe,” Takashi concludes with a weary smileBack...... Home