U.S. President honours victims of nuclear attack in historic visit to Hiroshima

US President Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama

{BNN / HIROSHIMA, Japan – U.S. President Barack Obama on May 27 visited Hiroshima. He became the first serving U.S. president to have visited the city since the World War Two nuclear attack.

Obama paid tribute to the 170,000 people who were killed when America dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. He said that the memory of that day must never fade but did not apologise for the attack.

Obama with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe first visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and then walked the Peace Memorial Park.

Both leaders then laid wreaths and bowed their heads before the arched stone monument that honours those who were killed in the deadly attack.

Obama said, “Death fell from the sky and the world was changed. The flash of light and a wall of fire destroyed a city and demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself.”

With the Japanese leader standing by his side, Obama continued, “We stand here in the middle of this city and force ourselves to imagine the moment the bomb fell. We force ourselves to feel the dread of children confused by what they see. We listen to a silent cry.”

The second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later which killed 70,000 people. Japan then surrendered on August 15, 1945, ending a war that killed millions.

Obama called for a world that was less threatened by nuclear weapons. He said, “Among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them.”

Japanese PM Abe praised Obama’s visit and called it a courageous and much-awaited. He said, “At any place in the world, this tragedy must not be repeated again.”

Obama met two of the survivors of the nuclear attack. He was seen laughing with 91-year-old Sunao Tsuboi and embracing Shigeaki Mori, 79, in a hug.

Tsuboi later told reporters that Obama will be remembered as the one who “listened to the voice of survivors like us.” Tsuboi said, “You should come visit Hiroshima from time to time and meet lots of people. That is what is important.” READ MORE OF THIS STORY

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About Cholo Brooks 15636 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.