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The Shadows of Hiroshima

At 8:15 on the morning of August 6, 1945, a person was sitting on a flight of stone stairs of the Sumitomo Bank in Hiroshima, Japan. Seconds later, an atomic bomb detonated 800 feet away, and the person sitting on the stairs was instantly incinerated. He was gone just like that. But not without leaving a mark. By a flash of the heat rays with temperatures well over a 1,000 degrees or possibly 2,000 degrees centigrade, that person was incinerated on the stone steps.

Up to about 10 years after the explosion, the shadow remained clearly etched on the stones, but exposure to rain and wind has gradually been blurring it. So the stone steps were removed and are now preserved at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

Somewhere between 150,000 and 240,000 people died from the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tens of thousands of them died in the days, weeks and years that followed. More died instantly.

In Hiroshima, between 60,000 and 80,000 people were killed, literally incinerated into nothing, in a moment’s time. In Nagasaki, 40,000 people vanished in just one second.

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