Nagasaki to Los Alamos   12 comments

With this entry, my Asia/Pacific excursion comes to an end. And a very powerful end it is!

Our last stop was in Nagasaki, the site that was devastated by the second dropping of the atomic bomb. Only by chance was Nagasaki destroyed, having been the back-up target when weather prevented hitting the initial choice.

The header tells the first part of the story… the total devastation of what was a prison with people in it. All that was left were those rows of melted and twisted material. Here’s the complete photo.

Remnants of Prison

And here’s a photo of the nearby monument erected over ground zero.

Ground Zero

If that “prison” photo doesn’t send chills and warnings, I don’t know what might. That’s the devastation side of the experience at the Peace Park.

Now for a series of photos illustrating the other side of the story. The peace park is a monument to the desire for non-violent resolutions to conflict. I couldn’t help but be sensitized to the nuances of forgiveness. At no point in the park or the museum, or the words of the tour guide, did anyone say anything like “When the US dropped the bomb.” In all cases it was “When the bomb dropped.” That simple turn of phrase makes it what they want it to be – a lesson to be learned.

The Peace Park is beautiful and peaceful — except for the tourists, that is. I would have loved to go back for a quiet period with no one taking photos of family and friends in front of the various statues. It almost seemed like desecration. But that’s what tourists do, and I’m sure most were also appreciating the potential serenity of the Park with the powerful message of love and peace.

Peace Park

Many countries (if not all) have contributed statues to the park. Here are some that I managed to photograph with no tourists in front of them.

Statue of Children

Peace Park Statue

See-Thru StatueBells in peae park

And finally the visit to the museum, including a wall laying out in a straightforward, factual way  the process of arriving at the decision to use the bomb. Again, the message was clearly couched in “When the bomb dropped,” not, as might have been, “When they dropped the bomb on us.”

The photo below marks the entrance to the museum

Atomic Bomb Museum

I found myself pleased to see Eisenhower’s opinion regarding its use. He was not alone in his opinion.

And now for the bookend. I have no photos to show, but I was at Los Alamos, New Mexico, last week — seeing where it began. A moving experience, in effect wrapping the whole thing up in one emotional package. I won’t bore you with going into a discussion of my reactions, but I will say the thoughts and emotions did roil.

This whole experience has only served to strengthen my commitment to restorative practices.

Thanks for joining me on this Asia/Pacific journey.

12 responses to “Nagasaki to Los Alamos

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  1. And thank you for inviting me on the journey. This last entry was heart wrenching. Not only because of the way it evoked some understanding of that which cannot be understood, but also because even if this could be sent to people in control of continued war, their minds would prevent them from “getting the message”. Your emphasis on the phrase “when the bomb dropped” was, indeed, a lesson in honor.

  2. The sculpture with the two negatice-space-people connecting – I am shivering taking in all the stories within that sculpture. How powerful to realize that when someone dies/their body dies, there is a space left after them. And stories.

  3. I love the art and all the photos. Seeing the ground 0 choked me up. I enjoyed traveling with you through your photos Mona! Thanks for inviting me

  4. Thanks for all the pictures and travels through the East.  I so enjoyed it, Mona especially the last one.  So meaningful, art work and comments of the Japanese guides.  What a beautiful way to look at a tragedy and see the lessons learned and not to blame.  That is amazing!  Still hear people speak negatively of the Japanese and WW II and yet they do not see the lessons and become a peaceful people as the Japanese have.  A sad thing indeed.  Glad when you were in NM you did go to Los Alamos, does bring it full circle.  Love your writing and how you’ve told this story/trip.  It was wonderful.  Thank you for sharing it.

    When you mention restorative justice always forget to tell you that 2 of my grandchildren go to a Peace camp each summer.  They like it and hopefully learning ways to deal with life as it comes.

    Glad you are back in Mn where to next?  Has been a wonderful year of travel for you.  Take good care.  Look forward to seeing you soon.

    Love, Dottie
  5. Hi Mona,

         Thank you for sharing your Asian/Pacific trip with me.  What a wonderful experience to share with your son.

         I enjoyed all the photographs and personal comments.


  6. Whew, it had to have been very powerful to been at both Nagasaki and Los Alamos within a relatively short period of time.This is a very thought-provoking post. I’d never thought about what it is now like at Nagasaki until i read this.

  7. Thanks so much for your appreciative comment. Makes me feel that writing about it was worthwhile.

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