"THE DOME OF PEACE MEMORIAL"
"To A Point Of Light"
"NEVER, NEVER FORGET"
"Red Tea Roses"
By Gerry M. Kaye
June 1, 2002
It was a hot, sunny, very humid July of 1989 day in Matsuyama, Japan, when I sailed by hydrofoil to a city in western Honshu: Hiroshima.
It wasn't a quick crossing, there was plenty of deep blue water to cover; and as usual when setting out to explore a new place, I was elated, on top of the world.
I disembarked about mid morning and entered the streets of the city of Hiroshima that were bustling with crowds of people, briskly walking by, indifferent to a lone American walking among them; yet not so indifferent, I thought.
The very wide sidewalks were lined with fashionable shops of which most displayed, in sparkling clean windows, imported and expensive items; in a strikingly booming economy.
But I was not there to shop, nor to dine. My destination was the Dome of Peace, at Peace Memorial Park, the site of the first military dropping of the atomic bomb, August 6, 1945.
Upon entering the Dome Building, I was given a set of headphones that were designed to explain fully and comprehensively that which was being seen in the displays, while walking in a conformed line around the building.
For on that fateful day in 1945, the unthinkable did occur.
On that day, the sun rose over a beautifully aesthetic city, on a day when the streets would be filled with civilians; and many school children, visiting on a tour.
And on that infamous, terrible day, a nuclear bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT, flattening the city, killing tens of thousands of civilians.
If a picture can tell a thousand words, then these, on display, told trillions.
The bomb hit with immense burning heat and dissolved instantly, anyone remotely near the site ( the site of the Dome) of the hit.
It created a huge mushroom cloud with enormous quantities of radioactivity, that caused severe contamination of radioactive fallout on the earth's surface.
Burning, agonized and screaming people that could walk, wandered about looking for loved ones; and many jumped into the sea in searing pain.
The photographs of burnt and twisted bodies of children, women and men went on and on, one after another; and with more photographs of the lasting aftermath, the extreme damage from radioactive fallout that persisted to claim more lives, and to maim many, many more.
"NEVER, NEVER FORGET"
Yet, through all the shocking evidence of that unspeakably horrible event at the site of the Dome of Peace, at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan, the tone, the point being made was not for condemnation particularly, nor to condone the bombing; but that the whole world should know, and should never forget: that this must never, never happen again.
The deep sorrow, the agonizing regret and apology that is now evident on all sides, for that which led to that event, and for that which occurred, should forever remain most important at the forefront of human understanding, in the absolute realization that there is no cause or reasoning that could ever justify this act, in the incredible suffering that it creates.
I left the Dome Building shaken, far beyond what I had expected; and I walked the front grounds in deep and dreadful realization of what had actually taken place there, in August of 1945.
I sat down in silence for what must have been a long while; and I then noticed the bright red tea roses planted all around.
Surely, even in the face of one single flower, growing out of that unforgettably sorrowed ground, is the point of light that the whole world should know, and never forget: that this must never, never happen again.
"Red Tea Roses"
July 24, 1989
Watercolor on canvas.
4 3/4'" x 5 1/2"
Adjacent - Dome Building, Peace Memorial Park.
Artist, Gerry M. Kaye
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(c) Copyright 1989, 2002, 2006 by Gerry M. Kaye. All rights reserved.