Doves, silence for A-bomb victims
Hiroshima recalls day 60 years ago that changed face of war
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HIROSHIMA, Japan (CNN) -- Hundreds of doves were released in Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima Saturday as tens of thousands of people gathered 60 years after the world's first atomic bomb was dropped on the city, killing nearly half of its residents.
At 8:15 a.m. (11:15 p.m. GMT Friday) -- the moment when the bomb detonated on August 6, 1945 -- the crowd was hushed for a minute of silence in tribute to the more than 140,000 people who died either instantly or not long after the attack.
Thousands more suffered severe burns and the effects of radiation sickness, and many of these people also did not survive.
The park surrounds the closest building to survive the blast.
On August 9, 1945, three days after the Hiroshima attack, another atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, who each year issues a Declaration of Peace for the anniversary, described it as "a time of inheritance, of awakening and of commitment ... to the abolishment of nuclear weapons and the realization of genuine world peace."
"No one else should ever suffer as we did," said Akiba, quoting the "hibakusha" warning from the bombing survivors. He urged nuclear powers to abandon their arsenals.
During the Hiroshima ceremonies, dignitaries placed wreaths and flowers at the base of the monument. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi also paid tribute to the bombing victims, saying Japan has vowed "never to repeat the tragedies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki."
"We also will take the lead in the international community to promote ... nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation and do our best to abolish nuclear weapons," Koizumi added.
The anniversary comes as North Korea disarmament talks continue in Beijing.
Negotiations have reached an impasse over Washington's insistence that Pyongyang should not be allowed to have any nuclear program that might be converted to making weapons.
North Korea insists it has the right to developing nuclear power for peaceful means.
One of the Hiroshima survivors is Hiroko Yamashita, who was home alone when the bomb went off.
"I remember the figure of my little brother coming home from our neighbor's house, silhouetted in a white flash," she said.
Yamashita was 18, he was 6, and their parents had asked her to watch him.
Their house was about 800 meters (yards) from where the bomb exploded. Their three-story home collapsed, but she and her brother found each other.
"We're OK is all we could say, over and over."
She told CNN she saw survivors with burned skin hanging from bodies."I still remember the voices of the dying calling, 'help, help us,' but we could not help them."
Yamashita suffered gaping wounds that exposed her bones and went to a nearby airfield, where co-workers found her and re-united her and her brother with their parents.
She thought her brother was fine. But he collapsed, bleeding from his nose, and his hair fell out. He died at a medical facility, in the bed next to her.
Yamashita said she still suffers from recurring cancer from the bombing.
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