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By Pam Hobbs

Every year on August 6, at precisely 8.15 a.m., the silence of Hiroshima is broken with the striking of a massive iron bell. This is followed by prayers and speeches, and memories of the dereadful day in 1945 when the city was destroyed by an American atomic bomb.

But you don't have to visit on August 6 to be greatly moved by Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park. It is an experience that any day of the year becomes indelibly printed on your mind.

It was quite a little bomb, only three metres long and four tons in weight, but its destructive power was equal to 20,000 tons of TNT. In the final months of the war in the Pacific, Hiroshima had remained untouched while other Japanese cities were flattened by bombing attacks. Then its turn came, with the big one. Site of a large army base, Hiroshima's 350,000 population was inceased by another 40,000 army personnel. And on this particular day, thousands of students had been brought in from rural areas to tear down buildings under a programme for air raid defence measures.