The Flowers of Hiroshima

Associated Press Photo

You don’t need to be reminded of what happened when the Enola Gay opened it’s cargo bay doors and let fall The Bomb that hazy August morning in 1945.

But I will remind you, if for some reason you had forgotten:  70,000 men, women, and children were instantly vaporized. Square miles of sleepy buildings were ripped from foundations and exploded into matchsticks.

Which then ignited,
and burned,
for weeks.

Hundreds of thousands writhed as their cells were swiss-cheesed by nuclear radiation– they vomited their insides out until they died.

It is a horror story, a horror story that everyone knows.  Why? Because it demonstrated that we, as humans can kill more people in one second than we had ever been able to kill before.  In a few hours, we could kill the population of planet earth, without much of a problem.

But I’m not hear to tell you this story.  I’m here to tell you about the week that followed, I’m here to tell you about the flowers:

“Over everything – up through the wreckage of the city, in gutters, along the river banks, tangled among tiles and tin roofing, climbing on charred tree trunks – was a blanket of fresh, vivid, lush, optimistic green; the verdancy rose even from the foundations of ruined houses. Weeds already hid the ashes, and wild flowers were in bloom among the city’s bones. The bomb had not only left the underground organs of plants intact; it had stimulated them. Everywhere were bluets and Spanish bayonets, goosefoot, morning glories and day lilies, the hairy-fruited bean, purslane and clotbur and sesame and panic grass and feverfew. Especially in a circle at the centre, sickle senna grew in extraordinary regeneration, not only standing among the charred remnants of the same plant but pushing up in new places, among bricks and through cracks in the asphalt. It actually seemed as if a load of sickle-senna seed had been dropped along with the bomb.” — Excerpt from “Hiroshima” by John Hersey

I want to remind you, that with every bit of bad news, comes the good news.  I want to remind you, that no matter how bad things may seem, it gets better.  I want to remind you, that you do not need to fear your own mortality– because even after the treachery of Hiroshima– there will always be flowers.

0 thoughts on “The Flowers of Hiroshima

  1. I read this book as a young college student about 45 years ago, but after I almost finished reading it was confiscated by a teacher and I never saw the book again. People have not learnt from the past mistakes.

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