Seventy-five years ago today

An aerial photo of Hiroshima, Japan, shortly after the 'Little Boy' atomic bomb was dropped, 1945. Photo credit: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images.

Hiroshima bombed 75 years ago today!

On August 6, 1945, the U.S. becomes the first and only nation to use atomic weaponry during wartime when it dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Located in western Japan, Hiroshima was targeted because it was a major Japanese military hub filled with military bases and ammunition facilities. 

The first successful test of the atomic bomb was exploded in the desert in New Mexico in July 1945. President Harry S. Truman was warned by some of his advisers that any attempt to invade Japan would result in horrific American casualties, therefore, he ordered that the new weapon be used to bring the war to a speedy end. 

At 8:15 a.m., the U.S. B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped a 4-ton “Little Boy” uranium bomb from a height of 31,500 ft. on the city’s center, targeting the Aioi Bridge. The bomb exploded 43 seconds later, 2,000 ft. about the ground. Seconds after the detonation, the estimated temperature was 5,400-7,200 degrees Fahrenheit at ground zero. Almost everything within 1.2 miles of ground zero was destroyed by the blast and heat rays. Within one hour, a “black rain” of highly radioactive particles started falling on the city, causing additional radiation exposure.

It is estimated that 40% of Hiroshima’s population or 140,000 people, including those with radiation-related injuries and illnesses, died through Dec. 31, 1945. The total death toll, including those who died from radiation-related cancers, is estimated to be about 300,000.

Three days later - Nagasaki was bombed. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945, ending WWII.

Those who survived the initial blast but were exposed to radiation, developed symptoms such as vomiting and hair loss. Most of those with severe radiation symptoms died within three to six weeks. The remaining survivors, called “hibakusha,” were at a higher risk of developing cataracts and cancer. These survivors are currently entitled to regular free health checkups and treatment. Health monitoring of second-generation “hibakusha” began recently.

Out of this historical event, origami paper cranes became a symbol of peace because of a 12-year-old bomb survivor, Sadako Sasaki. While battling leukemia, Sasaki folded paper cranes using medicine wrappers after hearing an old Japanese story claiming those who fold a thousand cranes are granted one wish. Sadako developed leukemia 10 years after her exposure to radiation at age two. She died three months after she started the project.  

You can make your own origami paper crane by visiting https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-a-Paper-Crane-1/

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