I was at home on August 6th when a flash of light, like lightning, streaked over my head. Then everything went black.
When it grew lighter again, I found that my mother, my grandmother, and I were lying in the rubble of our house.
My body was peppered with glass fragments. Blood was spurting from the wounds. There was a gaping hole in my mother's throat and, when she spoke, something dark red---it looked like fish eggs----dangled out. But I just started at her throat in silence. My mother found some cloth and ripped it onto pieces. She pressed the cloth to my wounds and tried to bind them. It was hard for her to breathe, but she was desperate to stop my bleeding. Her hands were wet and shiny with blood.
Then we heard voices. “Hurry! Get out! Fire is approaching!” A man picked me up and I screamed “Mommy!” It was the first word I said. The man carried me over the rubble to the streetcar tracks my mother and grandmother remained on the other side of the debris and they gradually dropped out of sight. I recall my mother waving to me weakly with her red hand. It was the last time I ever saw her.
Along the streetcar tracks, victims of the bombing----their skin burned and dangling in strips, their bodies covered in blood----staggered barefoot down the road. They were all strangely silent.
I spent the night on the riverbank watching the sky burn red. All around me lay burnt dolls that were once junior high school students. “Mother!” “Water, please!” “I'm so hot!” Their voices gradually grew fainter and finally they died. It's odd, but I didn't feel lonely or scared. We were all simply human-shaped spirits with no emotion at all. In fact, it wasn't until three days later that I felt pain from my wounds. At the relief station, they removed the bloody cloth and I screamed until I lost consciousness.
When I finally came to,the war was over. But that's when my suffering really began. My body was littered with tiny pieces of glass and maggots crawled in my wounds. Day after day, people around me died as they cried out for their mothers or their children. And every night I replayed in my mind, over and over, the last image of my mother waving to me. As I looked up at the beautiful stars, I would think of her and cry.
Many years have passed since the bombing. My husband was spared that day, but he lost his parents and his older brother, leaving him alone in the world. He never speaks about the bombing. My husband was spared that day, but he lost his parents and his older brother, leaving him alone in the world. He never speaks about the bombing, though-----it's too painful for him to recall.
I didn't want to remember either, but children need to know the terrible cruelty of war. And so, with hopes of peace, I began to share my experience.
Yasuko Imai was then 26 years of age. She worked desperately helping her father-in-law, a doctor, with the patients. There was no time to rest, much less to sleep. Among the patients. There was no time to rest, much less to sleep. Among the patients, there was a young boy whom she tried to help but in vain. She can never, ever forget the boy who died, till this date.
It was the morning after the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
I lived in the suburb, 10 kilometers away from Hiroshima city where the hospital is located.
From the previous day, trucks transported the injured to my fathers-in-law's hospital and about 200 victims were brought. They could not all enter the hospital so therefore many were laid outside on straw mats. They were crying, moaning and struggling, a horrible scene.
My father-in-law, an elderly doctor and five nurses treated the injured and we, family members also devoted ourselves to help as much as possible, having no time to rest nor sleep till dawn appeared. The injured, which the day before had crammed the reception room to the point that there was no space to walk, were reduced in number.
They had either been taken home by their families or they may have left on their own.
The sun was shining brightly in the reception room, lighting up corners. I noticed a young man lying facing the wall. The top of his head had no burns due to the cap he wore but the rest of his head, neck, and his whole upper torso were horribly burned. However, the lower part, his trousers and gaiters that he was wearing were left unburned.
That morning, a number of those who died were carried out on wooden boards and I thought, 'Maybe!” and went closer to him. He turned his eyes which were losing vision toward me and mustered his strength. “Nurse”, he called. “I was here before the others but can't the doctor see me yet? Without thinking, I dropped down on my knees and said, “I'm sorry. I'll call the doctor, right away.” “Hold on!”
Then he said, “Can you please give me some water?”
I remembered that it is said not to give victims that are burned water or they would die.
But looking at his face, I sensed that he no longer had the strength to live. I thought, at least I can fulfill what might be his last request. I ran to the kitchen and brought him a cup of water.
As I predicted, after he took one sip of water, he died. I picked up the cup with trembling hands. I could no longer control my feelings. Tears flowed down on my work pants. He must have wanted to call for his mother. He was 13 years old, a first year junior high school student, still boyish and cute. I heard that the boy, due to the a-bomb blast, somehow got separated from his classmate and teachers who were mobilized to demolish buildings. He was put on the bus that carried victims to the hospital. At the end, he did not have the strength neither to cry,”mother” not “help me” and had to leave this world all by himself at a place unfamiliar to him.
This must never happen again! I thought. I had two younger brother about this age who had evacuated to our relatives home in Yamagata and Nikko.
When I thought that this could also happen to them, I was unable to withstand the horror.
Of my entire tragic A-bomb experience, the encounter with this boy is the closest memory to me. When I talk about it to people, I weep and my vow to oppose war is deeply entrenched in my my heart.