On Friday, Barack Obama became the first sitting US President to visit Hiroshima. With an fearless look at the history that has been really painful, Obama stood on the hallowed ground of Hiroshima and called for “a world without nuclear weapons” at the city’s Peace Memorial Park. Obama’s main aim of this visit was to pay respect to victims of the atomic bomb.
As the first American President to visit the place, Obama went there to acknowledge an act that was committed by the Americans, which till date, Americans feel is justified as they wanted to end the World War which was started by Japan. In the war, some 140,000 people died when America attacked Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and 70,000 people died in Nagasaki, another place where a second bomb was thrown by the Americans.
Obama said of the dead, “ Their souls speak to us. They ask us to look inward, to take stock of who we are and who we might become”. In the past seven years, Obama has made tremendous progress on his nuclear agenda. He said, “We may not realize this goal in my lifetime, but persistent effort can roll back the possibility of catastrophe”.
Though he was there for a very short duration of time, but seems he accomplished what he wanted to.
In his 20 minutes speech, he said, “ Why do we come to this place, Hiroshima? We come to ponder the terrible forces unleashed in the not so distant past. We come to mourn the dead. It has been nearly 71 years after an American bomber passed high above this Japanese city in the month of August. This attack altered the history. On the guest book of the Hiroshima Peace Park, Obama wrote, “ We have known the agony of war. Let us now find the courage, together, to spread peace, and pursue a world without nuclear weapons”. He also said that the scientific strides must be matched by moral progress or the mankind is doomed.
After laying a wreath on the museum’s centopath alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, he said that there is a shared responsibility to look into the eyes of history and ask what must be done to prevent nuclear weapon being used. He called for an end to the senseless wars and also reflected that violence has been a part of the history. He said, “The world war that reached its brutal end in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was fought among the wealthiest and most powerful of nations”.
He further added, “Those civilizations have given the world great cities, magnificent art, thinkers that advanced ideas of harmony and truth, and yet the war grew out of the same base instinct for domination. Conflicts can cause conflicts among the simplest of tribes.”
He ended by saying, “The world was forever changed here but today the children of this city will go through their day in peace. What a precious thing that is. It is worth protecting.”