The grandson of former U.S. President Harry S. Truman, who ordered the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan during the end stages of World War II, attended a memorial in Hiroshima for the victims.
Clifton Truman Daniel laid a wreath down at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Saturday for the some 140,000 people who were killed in the nuclear blast. In Nagasaki, 70,000 people were killed in a similar bombing three days later.
“The most impressive thing is that survivors and students and all of us can come together and talk, and they can share their stories,” Daniel was quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as saying.
Daniel is the first member of the Truman family to visit the site. He said his sentiment against nuclear weapons has grown stronger during his trip, The Daily Yomiuri newspaper reported.
“My grandfather, having ordered the use of the weapons, was nonetheless horrified by the destruction they caused and spent a great deal of his presidency trying to make sure that we never used those kinds of weapons again,” he told the Kyodo news agency.
Daniel said, however, that he has not passed judgment on his grandfather’s decision.
“I have tried never to see it as a right or wrong thing to do,” he added. “There is no good decision in war.”
Daniel came to know Masahiro Sasaki, 71, the survivor of the bomb blast and brother of Sadako Sasaki, a girl who became famous for folding paper cranes in the hope she would be cured of leukemia. She died at the age of 12.
Earlier, Sasaki opened up a plastic box and handed the last crane his sister made to Daniel, he told the news agency.
“Words do not seem adequate for how I felt at that moment. … That meant so much,” he said of the meeting. “That’s the most powerful crane of all and it is the last one.”
Other survivors of the bombings met with Truman’s descendant.
“It’s good to meet the grandson of Mr. Truman as we have not had a chance to meet him before,” Nobuo Miyake, 83, who survived the Hiroshima bombing, told the ABC.
Another survivor, 79-year-old Kohei Koba said, “Since he is a grandson, he has no direct responsibility. Rather, I felt as if I met a distant relative.”
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.