Truman grandson visits Hiroshima memorial

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TOKYO -- A grandson of President Harry Truman, who ordered the atomic bombings of Japan during World War II, visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Saturday and laid a wreath for the victims.

Clifton Truman Daniel offered a silent prayer for the 140,000 people killed by the Aug. 6, 1945, bombing. Another atomic blast in Nagasaki three days later killed 70,000 more.

"I think this cenotaph says it all -- to honor the dead, to not forget and to make sure that we never let this happen again," Daniel said.

Daniel, 55, is in Japan to attend ceremonies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki marking the 67th anniversary of the bombings. His visit, the first by a member of the Truman family, is sponsored by the peace group Sadako Legacy, named after Sadako Sasaki, an A-bomb victim who died of leukemia at age 12.

After the end of the war in Europe, military experts believed an invasion of Japan would cost hundreds of thousands of American lives. Use of the bombs, Harry Truman believed, would bring a swift end to the war, and it did.

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While in the hospital, Sadako folded hundreds of paper cranes after hearing a legend that people who make 1,000 origami cranes can be granted a wish. Origami cranes have since become a symbol of peace.

Daniel, a former journalist, met Sadako's brother, Masahiro Sasaki, 71, who survived the bombing, at a peace event in New York in 2010. They agreed to work together to deepen understanding between the two countries, which are still divided over the question of the legitimacy of the atomic attacks.

"There are other opinions, there are other points of view, and I don't think we ever finish talking about that," Daniel said after visiting a museum at the memorial. "The important thing is to keep talking."

Daniel decided to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki to better know the consequences of his grandfather's decision as part of his own efforts to help achieve a nuclear-free world.-- AP

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