HIROSHIMA, Japan -- Seventy years ago, a man-made firestorm was unleashed on Hiroshima, Japan and 140,000 people were killed. But the atomic bomb shortened World War II, by forcing the Japanese to surrender.
A Peace Bell was rung to mark the Anniversary in Japan on Thursday. Thousands attended the ceremony. At dusk, lanterns floated down a river in memory of the victims.
The scars of 70 years ago have been paved-over in the rebuilding of the bustling, modern city of Hiroshima, but the pain is still there.
Keiko Ogura was 8 years old when America dropped its atomic bomb a mile and half from her home.
"We must be attacked by a hundred bombs, we thought," she said.
It was just one.
The intense heat from the explosion incinerated the center of the city and the wooden structures in it. There was only one building left standing in one part of town and it remains today as a stark reminder of the devastation.
At the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, director Kenji Shiga shows everyday items from that day that became artifacts. A 4-year-old was incinerated on his tricycle, a lunch box melted in the heat. The bomb reached 7,000 degrees.
"Today there are 16,000 nuclear weapons on earth, " said Shiga in Japanese. "(So) it's important to take another look at what happened here."
Kieko agrees it's difficult to tell her story, but she feels it's a story that must be told.
"Because nuclear weapons will kill the future generations," she said.
The city straddles a desire to move forward, and to never forget.