By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Students at the East Side Community High School got a rare opportunity on Monday to meet an atomic bomb survivor from Hiroshima thanks to the program, Hibakusha Stories, an initiative of Youth Arts New York.
The sophomores in Yolanda Betances global history class listened in the school’s auditorium as Shigeko Sasamori recounted her experience in Hiroshima on the day the atomic bomb was dropped on the city on August 6, 1945.
Sasamori was 13 years old at the time, sitting in a classroom with other kids her age, when she heard an airplane.
“That day was very hot and sunny and there was a beautiful blue sky,” she told the students. “I looked up and saw the airplane so I told my classmate next to me to look at it too, and as soon as I pointed up, I saw white things drop out of the plane and I was knocked unconscious.”
She didn’t know how long she was unconscious but the next thing she remembered was how pitch black it was outside. After she made it outside, everyone she saw had their clothes torn away and their skin was raw and pink, so badly burned that it was peeling off their bodies. She made her way to the river but couldn’t get in because there were so many dead bodies floating in the water.