16. Picking up a Few Small Bones

  I want to first express my gratitude for everything.

  Whenever I recall the disaster on August 6, 1945, I shudder with horror. In those days we had very little to eat, so I was always feeling sorry for my son who had to experience hunger.

  On that morning, Nobuyuki got up early as usual. He said,“ I will go to school in wooden sandals today,” so I fixed straps on the new clogs that I happened to have. He left home for school, wearing shorts and a clean white striped shirt with half-length sleeves. He was heavily tanned. His name was clearly handwritten on his shirt. Every morning when he left for school, he used to say, “Mother, please don't cry if I die. If you cry, I will cry, too.” He also used to say, “Please bring me back home from wherever something happens to me. ” We will never forget his smiling face when he said. My husband and I can not talk about him without feeling pity for him when we recall him.

  When he left, we never imagined that we would not see him again. He was a second grader at Hakushima National Elementary School in Higashihakushima-cho. Our house was in Nishihakushima-cho. Soon after he left home, I heard a roaring sound. Then, a pine tree in our garden looked pure yellow. My husband had just put on a shoe. I, standing beside him, felt dizzy. As soon as my husband cried, "House attacked!", he and I threw ourselves flat on the floor in the kitchen. For a while we were unconscious, but soon he came to and spoke to me. Opening my eyes, I found him bleeding from his head, so I wiped the blood off and went outside.

  When looking around, I found all of the houses in the neighborhood had collapsed, and heard only the voices asking for help. Our one-storied house, unlike two-storied houses around ours, did not collapse. Our house was one-storied and was saved from collapsing. Since unharmed, we worked to help our injured neighbors. However, many people ran away from the place, crying “Let's escape! Hurry up!”. They only cared about themselves, paying no attention to others who were suffering. I escaped with my husband, taking our next-door neighbor's wife and child. On the way, I tried to stop at school to see if my son was all right, but it was impossible because that area was a sea of fire. Our neighbor's wife and child then met an acquaintance and left us. After that day, we kept looking for our son every day. Although we could not find him, we continued to remain hopeful that he had been saved by someone. However, we realized we had to abandon that hope, so we went to school and picked up a few small bones which we assumed would be our son's. Because our house had totally burned down, we went to our uncle's in Furuichi with the bones and stayed there for some days.

  At present, our first, second and third sons live in their own houses, enjoying their lives. Twenty-nine years ago, my husband and I bought an old house with land in Itsukaichi and have lived there in good health. My husband is one of the managers of the neighborhood association. We live in peace, praying for the repose of Nobuyuki's soul. I believe that he is happy in heaven that the monument was built for A-bomb victims.

written by Akiyo Kozasa (Itsukaichi-cho, Saiki-gun)

Death in the Atomic boming :
Nobuyuki Kozasa (a second grader at Hakushima National Elementary School)