Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

6 memorials that made an impact on us

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The world has had a tumultuous history. Along with all the beautiful landscapes, the amazing architectural feats, and incredible people and stories that have been… the world has had its fair share of heartache and heartbreak and gut wrenching stories of war and/or natural disasters. Memorials are sometimes set up to mark the lives lost. We always find these memorials very haunting and moving.

But memorials are not only for sad events, they also mark important people and events. In this post, we’ve rounded up the memorials that we have visited that made an impact on us. Not that any of the others were less notable or less important, we particularly wanted to share these 6.

And in no particular order,

1. The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania, we’ve previously shared a photo essay of it and still get goosebumps thinking about this place. The information around its history is a little hazy but in essence it is a memorial to lives lost. The number of crosses erected in this place is unknown but is estimated to be around 100,000. We’ve never seen anywhere else quite like it.

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2. The Memorial Cenotaph framing the peace flame and the A-Bomb Dome as part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan. The park itself is dedicated to Hiroshima, the first city ever to suffer a nuclear attack, in memory of the victims.

The A-Bomb dome that you can see in the distance, is what remains of the former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. This building was at the centre of the where the bomb exploded. IMG_1111

3. In 2011, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch in New Zealand, killing 185 people. This is a temporary art installation commemorating the lives lost on that February day. There was 185 different chairs painted white, each marking one of the lives lost.  IMG_1179

4. Seeing the one in Christchurch, reminded us immediately of the one we saw in Krakow, Poland. Thirty-three chairs on deportation site, each one representing the 1,000 Jewish victims of the Krakow Ghetto during World War II. IMG_1578

5. The Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, USA is something we had only ever seen in TV shows and movies. This statue is probably one of the most notable things that we wanted to see during our visit to DC and it certainly did not disappoint. Honouring the 16th President of the USA, it stands at about 5.8 meters. The walls inside the monument are inscribed with Lincoln’s inaugural speech and Gettysburg speech. IMG_3256

6. And possibly the most significant one for us as Australians was the Memorial by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli in Turkey.

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours…
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace, after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”
– Ataturk, 1934

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What memorial have you visited that made an impact on you? 

one lone crane

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Cooking okonomiyaki
Cooking okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a Hiroshima speciality!  We ate okonomiyaki on bar stools around a big hot plate. It wasn’t quite teppanyaki where the chef threw it to us to catch, but it was cooked right in front of us and served to us on a plate.

Growing up, we all would’ve read or at least knew about “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes”. Hiroshima is nothing like anywhere we have ever been. There is obviously a lot of “new” since the rebuild after the devastation caused by the atomic bomb on August 6, 1945. But with all that “new”, there is also so much history.

Peace flame
Peace flame

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is a very moving place, dedicated to the victims but also advocating world peace. We visited the museum which was interesting to start off with but soon became too overwhelming when we reached the stories and items belonging to victims (who were mainly children). It was simply too emotional and gut-wrenching to read and look at the exhibits so we left early. It is incomprehensible what the Japanese people in this city and in Nagasaki would have experienced on the day the bombs were dropped. It reinforces how no one really wins when it comes to war!

We visited the A-Bomb Dome which amazingly remained in-shape despite the bomb detonating 600 metres above it. And we were fortunate to witness one lone crane perched above it as we walked past. It seemed so fitting to be be able to see a crane in such a place.Within the memorial park, there is a statue of Sadako with the paper crane representing Children’s Peace Monument. And to this day, you can still fold paper cranes and send the 1000 cranes to be displayed near the statue.

Crane above the A-Bomb dome
Crane above the A-Bomb dome