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Obama Pays His Respects In Hiroshima, Offers No Apology For Atomic Bomb

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HIROSHIMA, Japan (CBSMiami/AP) -- President Barack Obama paid tribute to the 140,000 Japanese killed when the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Standing in Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park, Obama said, "We stand here in the middle of this city and force ourselves to imagine the moment the bomb fell. The dread of the children confused by what they see. We listen to a silent cry.""

The president placed a wreath at the memorial and after he spoke, he met with Hiroshima survivors like Shigeaki Mori, who was just 8 when the bomb dropped. The historian is now 79 years old.

Obama says the world has a shared responsibility to ask how to prevent the suffering that took place in Hiroshima more than 70 years ago from happening again.

But his speech was also remarkable for what was not said -- there was no apology for Harry Truman's decision to drop the bomb and end thousands of lives.

"When you have the weapon to win the war, you'd be foolish if you didn't use it," President Truman said in 1945.

At 8:15 on the morning of August 6, 1945, a nearly five ton bomb named "Little Boy" dropped from the Enola Gay onto Hiroshima. Three days later, another struck Nagasaki.

Truman justified that it was a necessary evil to end the war. But the attack also triggered the dawn of a nuclear age. One that the nation's current president has struggled to contain.

"That is a future we can choose. A future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare but as a start of our own moral awakening," said President Obama.

A new CBS News poll shows Americans are sharply divided about the use of atomic weapons in Japan during World War II. 43-percent approve while 44-percent do not.

That support is down from 2005, when 57-percent approved of the weapon's use.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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