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This is one of seven papers written by my 9th grade students describing how they feel about President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima and the words he spoke there.  I will be posting the remaining six over the weekend.  This Independence Day weekend is an excellent time to post these kids’ thoughts — to remind us that America can find greatness not in making war, but in working for peace.  

JAPAN-US-DIPLOMACY-WWII-HIROSHIMA

US President Barack Obama hugs Shigeaki Mori (front), a survivor of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, during a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on May 27, 2016. Obama on May 27 paid moving tribute to victims of the world’s first nuclear attack. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON  CLICK ON THE PICTURE FOR THE ACCOMPANYING MUSIC, ERIC CLAPTON’S “TEARS IN HEAVEN”

President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima was welcomed by Japanese very much. His desire to get rid of nuclear weapons has been known in Japan, so we had been expecting his visit.

His speech was widely broadcast and many Japanese felt it will definitely go down in history. I think it was a much bigger event for us than foreigners might think.

His visit made me realize how much Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims have been suffering from the effects of the nuclear bombs. Actually, young Japanese like me don’t know much about World War II. I felt so bad about my lack of knowledge when I saw the man cry as he was being embraced by President Obama. He was one of the bombing victims. He said that he had longed for this day and that he was moved strongly by President Obama’s enthusiasm. I thought the victims had nearly given up everything about the atomic bomb, but I was totally wrong; President Obama’s visit was partially a result of the victims efforts to spread the story about the misery of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I am sure that President Obama’s action will make people realize how badly Hiroshima and Nagasaki were damaged. To spread this fact is most the most important thing and the Japanese mission is to do so, not to request an apology. So, I want foreign people to know how those cities suffered and to reconsider having or using nuclear weapons.

REIKA (15) – Katsushika Ward

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