"He heard the airplane and as soon as he saw it, he said to the old men 'run bomb!' And at the same time, he ran into the huge nearby building ... everything came down on him, and he had a huge cement icebox he hid inside ... he wasn't too much hurt."
Those fishermen he'd tried to warn weren't quite as lucky.
Nor, we have to assume, were the fish.
"When he came out, those three or four men were sitting in the same position, skin peeling off of them, their whole bodies pink. When human skin comes off, the blood welling up ... it looks pink, not red."
Yeah, let's all take a moment to be grateful that last fun fact is something we learned while playing Internet at the office, and not from experience at the age of 13.
There Was No Medical Care
Things like hospitals tend to be clustered in or around downtown areas. Ninety percent of the medical professionals in Hiroshima were killed or severely injured in the instant that bomb went off in the center of town. Shigeko spent five days in an auditorium, without luxuries like "water," "food," or "treatment for her many, many horrific burns." She survived, because apparently she had the immune system of a Japanese teenage Wolverine (yep, we'd watch it). After five days, rumors spread to her mother that a kid from their neighborhood was alive and injured in the auditorium. Finally, Shigeko was rescued. But she didn't get to go to a hospital, because hospitals were naught but a beautiful memory. Thankfully, her house was one of the few buildings in the city that hadn't been destroyed:
What the hell was that bridge made of?
"Then I got home, I was in and out of consciousness. So I was under the mosquito net, and my mother and father took turns taking care of me. When I asked how I looked, my mother said, 'your father cut your hair.' My head didn't burn because my hair protected. Half my forehead didn't burn either.
"So he cut all the black hair off, and peeled off the blackness [blisters]. And very thick yellow pus he saw. Infection. Five days of no treatment, five very hot days. Many people died that way. No water, no food. Five days."
Fortunately, our species makes more than fancy new ways to kill each other. We also make people like Norman Cousins, an editor for the New York Evening Post. Norman realized the children of Hiroshima had nothing to do with the slugfest between the U.S. and Imperial Japan. They were just poor, wounded kids. So he raised a bunch of money and flew Shigeko and several other victims to America for plastic surgery. Then he legally adopted Shigeko, making her an American citizen. Apparently, some people keep an inexhaustible well of kindness somewhere in their body. Probably the same place we store our Doritos.
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For more insider perspectives, check out 5 Insane Things I Learned as a Foreign Aid Worker and 8 Terrifying Life Lessons From a Former Terrorist.
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