Visitors to Hiroshima memorial reflect on Obama's visit

AP News
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Posted: May 27, 2016 1:48 AM
Visitors to Hiroshima memorial reflect on Obama's visit

HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) — Visitors to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on Friday had this to say ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit later in the day. Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to come to Hiroshima, a city devastated by a U.S.-dropped atomic bomb at the end of World War II.

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KINUYO IKEGAMI, 82, who lit incense and chanted a prayer at stone memorial in the park

"I could hear schoolchildren screaming, "Help me! Help me!' It was too pitiful, too horrible. Even now it fills me with emotion."

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TSUGUO YOSHIKAWA, 70, retired Hiroshima resident taking a walk in the park

"I don't think most Japanese and Hiroshima citizens have much sense of grudge any longer. I know some people from a survivors' group who said something like we should work together with the U.S. You know, we cannot move forward if we are sticking too firmly to a sense of grudge."

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HAN JEONG-SOON, 58, daughter of Korean atomic-bomb survivor

"The suffering such as illness gets carried on over the generation. That is what I want President Obama to know. I want him to understand our sufferings."

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KANJI SHIMIZU, Noh actor (Japanese traditional performance art) from Tokyo

"It has been over 70 years and it would have been great if the U.S. president could have come earlier. But I guess it means the world has finally become ready for such a visit, and I see this as such a good chance for peace. It would be great if it could lead to a chance for more people like him to give a message to the world to abolish nuclear weapons."

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KO IL-KUK, 75, A-bomb survivor from South Korea

"President Obama will visit Hiroshima and lay flowers at the memorial for the atomic bombing victims in Hiroshima. We urge him also to come to the memorial dedicated for the Korean victims who died suffering from the heat over 4,000 degrees just like the rest of the victims and to commemorate their souls."

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This story has been corrected to show that Kinuyo Ikegami is 82.