August 6th of every year is a day to remember for the entire world. It was on this day in 1945 that America decided to teach the Japanese a lesson they would not forget, by bombing one of its cities in World War II, Hiroshima. Three days later, Nagasaki followed suit. Hiroshima thus earns the dubious distinction of being the first city in history to suffer the ferocity of an atomic bomb.
The reason Hiroshima was chosen as a target by the American was its location. It is strategically located on the Seto Island Sea, on the route to Honshu Island, on which Tokyo sits.
If that is how the world remembers this city, there is a lot more to it than just being associated with the bomb. Founded in 1589, Hiroshima was a center of industrialization and urbanization during the late 19th century. It was an example of the rapid strides the tiny nation made from that period up to World War II. Most of what the city built and cherished in those decades were destroyed in a matter of minutes.
As if to rub salt on its wounds, another tragedy struck Hiroshima just over a month later, even as it was struggling to come to terms with the enormity of the first one. This time, it was a natural disaster. Typhoon Ida struck Hiroshima on September 17 of that year, further destroying nearly whatever was left.
Quite fittingly, the most important monuments in Hiroshima are the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park, at which leaders assemble every year on the date of the bombing to remember the event.
Resonating the tragic occasion, Hiroshima University has the Hiroshima Peace Institute to press for a weapon-free world. Hiroshima today is a grim reminder of history’s atrocities, as well as an exemplar of the progress the nation has made after being so badly mauled.