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Survivors Recall the Nuclear Bombing of Hiroshima


Sunday marked the 61st anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. During World War II, a United States plane nicknamed the Enola Gay flew over Hiroshima and dropped a nuclear bomb, causing widespread destruction and thousands of deaths. Several survivors of the blast recently saw the Enola Gay for the first time at the Air and Space Museum in Virginia.

Yoshio Sato was a teenager when the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima. He fled with his family when their house caught fire. Soon after, his hair fell out from the effects of the radiation from the blast. "On my pillow I found much hair," he recalls.

As a young man he painted pictures that became part of a book -- showing the suffering of young people who were burned, their skin peeling off. "I do not hate the American people. But the American government has to apologize."

U.S. President Harry Truman said he made the decision to drop the atomic bomb to bring a quick end to the war, hoping Japan would surrender. After three days, when Japan did not surrender, another nuclear bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. Less than a week later, the Japanese leaders surrendered, marking the end of World War II.

Shotaro Kodama vividly remembers the day the bomb fell over Hiroshima. He saw people roaming the city with blackened skin, no hair, and naked - their clothes torn off from the blast. He was a teenager working in a factory where part of the building collapsed, lucky to be alive.

"When the atomic bomb blasted, I saw a big flash, a very bright one,” he says. “But I didn't hear the blasting sound because the factory was full of machines, motors and so forth."

Kadama says it is difficult to look at the bomber that destroyed Hiroshima and he does not think it should be on exhibit.

He says he can't imagine another atomic bomb ever being used again.

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