One hesitates to even dare comment on a visit to such an historic place, with so much said, and so much written by the more informed, the more experienced and those more closely affected by a literally world-changing event. But somehow it seems disrespectful to let this sobering visit pass without even a brief comment.
The Peace Park is awesome – in the true sense of the word. A monument to a nation that seems to my uninformed eye to have genuinely channeled their deepest grief into a bid for future peace. I thought of the many Kiwis I have met, touched by WWII experiences in South East Asia. I wanted them all to be here with me to see the other side. I wondered if it was real – the sense of reconciliation, the lack of vengeful desire to exact retribution, the acceptance of defeat.
I was not brave enough to visit the museum. Photos displayed in the park, with writings of those who were there on the day and briefly survived long enough to document thoughts and feelings; these were enough. I sat outside and watched my grandchildren playing in the park.
My daughter did a great job of explaining to her children why we were here – and why the adults in our party were sad. Izzy (aged 6) said we would come back one day to see that the flame was no longer burning – when all the bombs are gone. Yes Izzy, one day.
Izzy left her own little “monument” in the park…