WWII ‘pumpkin bomb’ victims remembered in Osaka ceremony

Kyodo

A memorial ceremony was held Saturday in Osaka to honor victims of the “pumpkin bombs” that were dropped on cities in preparation for the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, which hastened the end of World War II.

At least 400 people are thought to have been killed in the U.S. attacks, in which 49 bombs were dropped on 30 cities across the nation from July 20 to Aug. 14, 1945.

The bombs had almost the same design and weight as “Fat Man,” the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9 that year, but were filled with conventional explosives.

At the ceremony, near one of the targets in Higashisumiyoshi Ward, attendees held a moment of silence at 9:26 a.m., the time when one of the bombs killed seven people.

Photographs of the aftermath of the bombing and materials from the U.S. military were also displayed.

A member of the committee of local volunteers who planned the ceremony said remembrance was important in a world still plagued by conflict.

“It’s at times like these, when war feels very close by, that we want to keep the story of these bombs’ victims alive,” the organizer said.