Obama visited the Hiroshima Memorial, embraced some of the survivors and gave a speech asking for the removal of all nukes. His full statement might shock you!
President Barack Obama embraced a survivor of Hiroshima today – but stopped short of an apology for the United States dropping an atomic bomb on the city.
The U.S. president declared that the world has a ‘shared responsibility’ to review history and ‘curb such suffering’ from happening, as it did on August 6, 1945, when 140,000 residents of Hiroshima died when the town was leveled.
‘Why do we come to this place, to Hiroshima?’ he asked. ‘We come to ponder a terrible force unleashed in the not so distant past. We come to mourn the dead.’
Obama solemnly reflected on the world’s first atomic strike and said, ‘We stand here in the middle of this city and force ourselves to imagine the moment the bomb fell. We force ourselves to feel the dread of children confused by what they see. We listen to a silent cry. We remember all the innocents killed across the arc of that terrible war.’
With his stop today at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park following the conclusion of the G7 summit Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Japanese town that was leveled Allied forces during World War II with this stop today at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
He was careful not to recast President Harry Truman’s decision to authorize the launch of the war-ending ‘Little Boy’ bomb 71 years ago as a mistake and instead focused on the legacy of nuclear weapons.
During the emotional speech, which was followed by remarks from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Obama expressed a desire to see the end of nuclear weapons after acknowledging the attack ‘demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself’
At the moving ceremony Obama said, ‘Mere words cannot give voice to such suffering, but we have a shared resp to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.’
What happened ‘was not fate,’ he said. And every act of aggression between nations, every act of terror and of cruelty ‘shows our work is never done.’
‘We may not be able to eliminate man’s capacity to do evil,’ he said, ‘so nations and the alliances we have formed must possess the means to defend ourselves.’
For nations with nuclear stockpiles, ‘We must have the courage to escape the logic of fear, and pursue a world without them,’ Obama stated.
Still it is not enough. ‘Even he crudest rifle and barrel bombs can serve up violence on a terrible scale,’ he said.
‘We must change our mind set about war itself, to prevent conflict through diplomacy and strive to end conflicts after they’ve begun,’ the American president said. ‘We must reimagine our connection to one another as members of one human race.’
Obama advocated on behalf of the ‘radical and necessary notion that we are a part of a single human family.’
‘That is the story that we all must tell. That is why we come to Hiroshima. So that we might think of people we love. The first smile from our children in the morning. The gentle touch from a spouse over the kitchen table, the comforting embrace of a parent. We can think of those things and know that those same precious moments took place here, 71 years ago. Those who died, they were like us,’ he stated.
The 54-year-old U.S.politician who has dedicated his time in office to achieving nuclear non-proliferation said the scientific evolution of the past century must be accompanied by a ‘moral revolution.’
‘For this too is what makes our species unique. We’re not bound by genetic code to repeat the mistakes of the past. We can learn. We can choose. We can tell our children a different story. One that describes a common humanity. One that makes war less likely and cruelty less easily accepted,’ he said.
‘Ordinary people understand this I think, they do not want more war. They would rather that the wonders of science be focused on improving life and not eliminating it.
Continuing, he said, ‘When the choices made by nations, when the choices made by leaders reflect this simple wisdom, then the lesson of Hiroshima is done.’
Obama stressed the events of August 6, 1945 should never be allowed to fade from public consciousness.
‘The world was forever changed here. But today, the children of this city will go through their day in peace. What a precious thing that is. It is worth protecting, and then extending to every child. That is a future we can choose.
‘A future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not at the dawn of atomic warfare, but as the start of our own moral awakening.’
Abe said Obama’s visit to Hiroshima opened a new chapter of reconciliation for US and Japan.
After his speech, Obama was greeted by two survivors of the devastating attack which destroyed 90 percent of the coastal city, Sunao Tsuboi, Chairman of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organization, and Shigeaki Mori, the creator of a memorial for American POWs killed at Hiroshima.