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Survivor of the Hiroshima Bombing Brings Message of Peace

October 20, 2007

"If we think of the bomb as something of the past, then we will never be able to have peace,' Emiko Okada, survivor of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, said at the Peace Forum held October 19 and 20 at Mount Union College.

Okada was eight years old in 1945 when the airplane flew over Hiroshima and dropped the atomic bomb 600 meters above the ground. At the time, Okada lived only .6 kilometers from ground zero.

'In 10 seconds the city of Hiroshima was flat,' Okada said. 'No one knew what was happening. Hiroshima was a ball of fire and at the end of the day there was nothing left.'

There were six people in Okada's family who suffered from the effects of the atomic bomb. Her younger brothers were severely burned and her older sister was never found.

Okada said 70,000 people died immediately and 6,500 children were left orphaned and homeless. She said every year 1,000 victim names are added to the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.

Although the Hiroshima bombing happened 62 years ago, Okada said not to think of it as something of the past, but rather as something that can change the future.

'Right now there are 30,000 nuclear bombs around the world and 12,000 ready to be launched at any time,' Okada said. 'If we keep producing nuclear bombs we will never get rid of the poverty and starvation among children. Let's work together to abolish nuclear weapons around the world.'

Okada said it is important not to forget what happened August 6, 1945 so people will want to take action in bringing peace to the Earth. 'Peace will not come with violence, but people can bring peace,' Okada said.

'I tell people my story,' Okada said, 'so people remember the value of life.'

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