The eldest grandson of former U.S. President Harry Truman, who authorized the 1945 atomic bombings of Japan, welcomed President Barack Obama’s visit last week to the atomic-bombed city of Hiroshima as well as his speech that called for a world free of nuclear weapons.
Japanese atomic bomb survivor and Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organization (HPCASO) Chairman Sunao Tsuboi, standing right, talks with U.S. President Barack Obama, standing left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, standing center, after Obama and Abe offered wreaths at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western, Japan, Friday, May the 27th, 2016.
"Our visit to Hiroshima will honor all those who were lost in World War II and reaffirm our shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons", Obama said at a press conference this week. Obama on Friday became the first sitting US president to visit the site of the world's first atomic bomb attack, bringing global attention both to survivors and to his unfulfilled vision of a world without nuclear weapons. The US President said that the bombing "demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself".
"We come to ponder the awful force unleashed in the not so distant past. We come to mourn the dead ... their souls speak to us and they ask us to look inward".
In Hiroshima, many people said they were grateful that Obama came, most saying they weren't bothered that it took this long or that he didn't apologize for what predecessor Harry S. Truman ordered.
Mr. Obama spoke briefly with five survivors of the atomic bombing who had attended the ceremony along with their families.
The US President did not apologize for the bombing, which is viewed in the United States as having hastened the ending of the war, but acknowledged the devastating toll of the conflict.
"We are determined to realize a world free of nuclear weapons", he said.
The Hiroshima visit could send ripples across Asia, a region still grappling with the echoes of World War II seven decades after it ended.
"Seventy-plus years later... I think it was an act of respect and very appropriate", Hunt said.