Atomic bomb survivors share stories with Vermont students

By  | 

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) A gruesome history lesson Tuesday at South Burlington High School, where students learned about the horrors of war.

A coalition of peace activists brought two survivors of the 1945 atomic bombing of Japan by the United States. Those bombs ended the war.

Yasuaki Yamashita and Shigeko Sasamori told students about what they went through in Hiroshima and Nagasaki over seven decades ago. Sasamori said it was a beautiful, sunny day when she looked up to see a silver plane fly over the city of Hiroshima. The B-29 unloaded the bomb with a parachute. There was then a tremendous blast.

Yamashita was just 6 when the bomb dropped and his mother covered his body with hers to protect him. They both survived.

"I saw hell that moment, but the hell is not enough word, I believe there is no word to describe that terrible images," Yamashita said.

"Many people looked like pink skin because they were bleeding, the red blood was all over," Sasamori said.

"I find it interesting, me being 17, I've never experienced any major tragedy at all. So having someone younger experience that, it must be terrifying," said Andre Brown, a senior at South Burlington High School.

For over an hour the two survivors talked about the days after the bombing and shared stories of hunger and death. Now, both in their 80s, they want these young Vermonters to know the human cost of nuclear war. They also want these teens to start a grassroots effort to prevent it from happening again.

The pair also spoke at Burlington High School Tuesday.

Wednesday, they will start at Rice Memorial High School at 9:50 a.m. Then at 7 p.m., there will be a public event at UVM.

And on Thursday, there will be a presentation at Champlain Valley Union High School and later at St. Michael's College.