Shizuko Abe

An A-bomb Survivor as a Living Testifier

12. My activities to tell my A-bomb experience and what I want to convey

After my three children became independent and left home, I began my activities to tell my A-bomb experience in public.  My first experience as a story teller was to parents whose children were to come to Hiroshima for a school excursion from Itabashi, Tokyo.  The parents wanted to know what the A-bomb survivor would tell their children and came to check in advance.  After that, I had countless opportunities to tell my story and continue my activities.  But I gave my final presentation on April, 3, 2012, owing to the treatment of my stomach cancer.  I told my A-bomb story mainly to students on school trips but also to many people from abroad.  Especially, in May and October, the season for school excursions, I made my presentation every day, sometimes three times a day.  Remembering my harsh experiences, my heart almost burst when I spoke about my experience again and again in one day.

My message to young people is,“Have compassion to people around you, rather than to start with a big issue like world peace.”When I touched the warm hearts of Barbara and other American people during the Peace Pilgrimage, I realized that loving people around you can start peace.  A small chain of peace will gradually spread to become a big chain of peace.  I tell the young people to express their gratitude to their fathers, their mothers, and their teachers.  One day, I received a letter from a student, saying that after he heard my story and returned home, he said “Thank you!” to his parents.  I was very happy about that.

Please offer words of compassion to your family, your neighbors and your friends.  Discriminatory words or spiteful deeds rub salt in others’ already wounded hearts, which worsen the wounds deeply.  Instead, warm words have a healing power.  Then the circle of peace will become bigger.