Report by Filip Deheegher, City of Ypres, Lead City of Belgium Chapter
On the occasion of the A-Bomb exhibition held in Ypres from November 9th until December 2nd, Ms. Sadae Kasaoka, who survived the A-Bomb attack on Hiroshima at the age of 13, visited the city for a short stay.
In the evening of November 19th, she attended the daily Last Post ceremony where she prayed for the soldiers killed during WWI and laid down a wreath on behalf of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The Last Post ceremony is held every day under the Menin Gate in honour of the fallen commonwealth soldiers.
On November 20th, Ms. Kasaoka gave two lectures, one for secondary school students and one for adults. She testified on what happened on August 6th 1945 and shared the public the impact the bombing had on her for the rest of her life, such as opportunities she missed and her husband, also a hibakusha, who died very young. Life was never easy because of what happened to her when she was a young girl. The audience thanked her with a very warm round of applause. The Vice Mayor Verschoore thanked her for coming to the city and for her determination to travel around at her age to share the horror of what happened 73 years ago.
On the morning of her departure from Ypres on November 21st, Ms. Kasaoka visited Bedford House Cemetery, located in a neighbourhood very close to Ypres. It is one of the over 150 military cemeteries dedicated to the soldiers killed as a result of the heavy battles in the region during WWI.
|Offering a flower wreath at the Last Post Ceremony on November 19|
|Public lecture on November 20||Greeting by Vice Mayor Verschoore|
|Visit to the Bedford House Cemetary on November 21|
Photos Courtesty of the City of Ypres