3. Separated in the blaze

  A frequent air raid warning sounded the previous night. Looking up the night sky, I said to my third son who was on my back, “Shinzaburo, when we die, we'll die together.” My oldest son had been drafted, and my second and third sons ( 4th and 2nd graders) were at home due to the summer vacation. At “all clear”, I just relaxed, taking off the shirt.

  At 8:15a.m., August 6, our house collapsed accompanied by a roaring sound and the three of us were trapped under the debris. The second son and I managed to creep out of the dark and moved toward my third son who was shouting, “Help, help!” Covered with dust, we frantically looked for him, removing debris such as red clay, roof tiles, scattered papers, and books. We found him, but he was trapped with his head and chest under a large beam. He was crying to be rescued. “Oh, god, please, please help him.” I desperately put my hands together for prayer. It was most regrettable, but I, as a woman, couldn't help him, although I tried the best I could.

  “Mom, that's enough, enough”, said Shinzaburo.

  I had to say to him, “You go to be with your father. I, too, will go later”. Intimidated by the fierce blaze, the mother and child had to separate there in tears.

  He lived only a short life. Ever since he was born, he had been compelled to live in a war situation. He never had enough to eat, nor had a chance of good education; his life was one threatened by air raid warnings. He gave up his life, such a short life, by himself. A mother can feel a young one's feelings very well. Even now, 26 years later, I can't talk about him without tears. When this boy was 40 days old, his father went to the war (China Incident), leaving from Ujina Port. On April 30, 1938, he died in the war.

  “Do you know what your father looked like?” Whenever the boy was asked this question, his answer was always, “Yes, I do”.

  “How come?”

  “Because I know him by his picture”.

  He was exposed to the A-bomb at Showa-machi, Hiroshima, at the age of nine, a second grader at Nobori-machi National Elementary School. He was a quiet and gentle child. I pray for the soul of my dear son. Taking pictures in those days was out of the question, so the picture in the altar is the one taken when he was four.

Written by Tomiko Tamada(Funairinaka-machi, Hiroshima)

Death in the Atomic boming :
Shinzaburo Tamada (a second grader in Noborimachi National Elementary School)