The whole world will remember when the Japanese city of Hiroshima was bombed at the end of the Second World War.

And today thousands of Japanese people are starting to commemorate the 140,000 people who lost their lives.

People across the country have started to light lanterns of peace and express their sorrow in preparation for tomorrow’s anniversary.

Others, including Buddhist monks and children, took part in a parade holding ‘lanterns for peace’ at the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima.

Sixty seven years ago an atomic bomb was dropped on the city by the United States by the orders of then President Harry Truman.

The bomb contained the equivalent of between 12 and 15,000 tons of TNT and devastated an area of five square miles and more than 60 per cent of the buildings in the city were destroyed.

More than 140,000 people were killed out of the city’s population of 350,000 including military personell and those who later died from radiation.

Many have also suffered long-term sickness and disability. Another atomic blast in Nagasaki three days later killed 70,000 more.

The grandson of ex U.S President Harry Truman has also chosen to take part in the memorial services and attended a service for victims.

Clifton Truman Daniel visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on Saturday and laid a wreath to show his respect.
‘I think this cenotaph says it all – to honor the dead to not forget and to make sure that we never let this happen again,’ Daniel said after offering a silent prayer.

Daniel, 55, is in Japan to attend ceremonies next week in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and his visit is the first by a member of the Truman family.

Daniel, a former journalist said in a statement that he decided to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki because he needed to know the consequences of his grandfather’s decision as part of his own efforts to help achieve a nuclear-free world.

He said he hoped to hear stories from survivors about how they overcame their adversity. Daniel will also meet with the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and participate in discussions with students.

Susumu Miura, a 78-year-old Hiroshima native, wrote in the newspaper Tokyo Shimbun that he was enraged when he learned that many Americans still support the decision to drop the atomic bombs.
‘But when I heard on the news that former President Truman’s grandson is visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I felt as if I lost some weight from my chest,’ Miura wrote in an op-ed article.

The peace group also invited the grandson of a radar operator who was on both of the planes that dropped the atomic bombs.

Ari Beser’s grandfather, Jacob Beser, was only person who directly took part in both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

‘I hope we can bring a true reconciliation to atomic bombing survivors, many of them still caught in animosity toward the United States, as well as other survivors of war and their families, and help instill a strong sense of peace among young people,’ Sasaki said in a statement.

The U.S. government sent a representative – the American ambassador – to the annual commemoration of the atomic bombings for the first time two years ago. Ambassador John Roos also is to attend the Hiroshima ceremony on Monday.

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