On this day 70 years ago, an American B-29 bomber headed toward Hiroshima, Japan, in a flight that would change the course of world histo. The bomber dropped a bomb whose name is forever synonymous with death: "Little Boy."
At 8:16 a.m., Little Boy exploded, instantaneously killing an estimated 140,000 people with a fireball that surged to more than 1 million degrees, setting the air on fire. The 840-foot diameter fireball led to a firestorm that incinerated people, trees and wooden structures in a 4.4 mile diameter. The shockwaves of the explosion were felt as far as 37 miles, completely shattering windows up to 10 miles from ground zero.
The destruction Little Boy left behind was similar to no other, leaving rivers choked with bodies, infrastructure reduced to rubble and aftereffects that would last for decades. Few that looked at the devastated land saw any hope for it. However, 70 years after the tragic bombing, we have witnessed the phoenix of Hiroshima rise from its ashes.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial, popularly known as the Atom Bomb Dome, is the only structure near ground zero that survived the bombing. Despite rebuilding the city to new heights, the government decided to conserve the dome. The scars of Hiroshima were healing too quickly and people need to remember the bombing that had almost wiped their city in hopes nuclear weapons are never used in the future.
The rest of the city was rebuilt with zest, perhaps to a more beautiful state than it previously existed in. When seen together with contrasting pictures of the post-apocalyptic destruction, Japanese efforts to turn pain and horror into an inhabitable city are nothing short of miraculous.
The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings are examples of how big and dark menaces of the nuclear weapons are. It is uplifting to see the remarkable journey Hiroshima has made since, but we hope this aspect of history is never repeated.