A gut-wrenched John Kerry said the horrible history of what took place in Hiroshima should teach humanity to avoid conflict and strive to eradicate nuclear weapons as he became the first US secretary of state to tread upon the ground of the world's first atomic bombing. Kerry's emotional visit Monday to the Japanese city included him touring its peace museum with other foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and laying a wreath at the adjoining park's stone-arched monument, with the exposed steel beams of Hiroshima's iconic A-Bomb Dome in the distance, the AP reports. The otherwise somber occasion was lifted by the presence of about 800 Japanese schoolchildren waving flags of the G7 nations, including that of the United States.
Hours afterward, the top American diplomat still seemed to be absorbing all that he saw. "It is a stunning display, it is a gut-wrenching display," he told reporters of the museum tour, recounting exhibits that showed the bomb, the explosion, the "incredible inferno" and mushroom cloud that enveloped Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. "It tugs at all of your sensibilities as a human being. It reminds everybody of the extraordinary complexity of choices of war and what war does to people, to communities, countries, the world." (Ahead of the visit, American officials made it clear that Kerry would not apologize on behalf of the US for the bombing and Japanese officials hadn't asked him to.)