Sixty-six years ago today, the world ushered in the Nuclear age when the Enola Gay dropped Little Boy over Hiroshima.
It was 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945. The blast from the atomic bomb produced a mushroom cloud and killed 140,000 people and left thousands more homeless. Three days later, the U.S. dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki, which killed an estimated 80,000 people, closing the chapter on the second World War.
Once known more for its role in ending World War II, Hiroshima today is a major tourist attraction, and each year thousands of visitors from Japan and around the world flock to this western Japanese city.
While atomic weapons no doubt remain a controversial subject, it is possible to take in Hiroshima and understand the historical significance of the city without spending too much time discussing the pros and cons of nuclear warfare. For history buffs and travelers looking to see and understand what happened here, to Japan and to the whole world on that day, there are several memorials to the bombing, all located in Peace Memorial Park in the center of the city and near the bomb’s hypocenter.
This year’s remembrance ceremony had a new meaning in light of this year’s earthquake and the ensuring nuclear crisis at the Fukushima power plant, various media outlets reported.
“Japan will reduce its level of reliance on nuclear power generation with the aim of becoming a society that is not dependent on nuclear power,” Kyodo news agency quoted Prime Minister Naoto Kan as saying.
IF YOU GO: From Atlanta, both Delta Air Lines and Korean Air offer flights to Hiroshima, both with stops in Seoul.