On this day, 63 years ago, warfare on planet Earth changed forever.
Suddenly, a strong flash of light startled me – and then another. So well does one recall little things that I remember vividly how a stone lantern in the garden became brilliantly lit and I debated whether this light was caused by a magnesium flare or sparks from a passing trolley.
Later in the account he describes a scene of horror:
There were the shadowy forms of people, some of whom looked like walking ghosts. Others moved as though in pain, like scarecrows, their arms held out from their bodies with forearms and hands dangling. These people puzzled me until I suddenly realized that they had been burned and were holding their arms out to prevent the painful friction of raw surfaces rubbing together. A naked woman carrying a naked baby came into view. I averted my gaze. Perhaps they had been in the bath. But then I saw a naked man, and it occurred to me that, like myself, some strange thing had deprived them of their clothes. An old woman lay near me with an expression of suffering on her face; but she made no sound. Indeed, one thing was common to everyone I saw – complete silence.
Today the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be commemorated all over the world. As the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons reminds us, 26,000 nuclear weapons still exist in the world today, and the potential for another Hiroshima or Nagasaki is never removed until every last one is dismantled.