Hiroshima Survivor Makes Plea for Peace
Hideko Tamura Snider publishes illustrated children's book
WOOSTER, Ohio - On Aug. 6, 1945 — 68 years ago next week — Hideko Tamura Snider’s life changed forever…and so did the course of human history.
At a quarter past 8 that morning, the United States dropped a nearly five-ton atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima in Japan, a little over a mile from where Snider had slept in her grandfather’s estate the evening before.
Covered with debris and riddled with cuts and bruises, Snider emerged from the rubble with injuries that were not life threatening, but many of her fellow countrymen, including her mother, were not so fortunate as tens of thousands perished or sustained serious wounds from the blast.
Surviving the explosion was one thing, but overcoming the trials and tribulations that followed proved to be a lifelong challenge for Snider. Affected by radiation that caused a myriad of health issues over the years, Snider’s most significant hardship was the emotional burden, which led her to contemplate suicide on more than one occasion. “All my life I tried to pretend that there was nothing wrong with me,” she says, but that was an almost impossible task.
Fortunately, a missionary came to her aid, and helped put her life back together. She enrolled at Bennett College of Greensboro, N.C., then transferred two years later to The College of Wooster, where she graduated with a degree in sociology in 1956.
During the past half century, Snider has traveled across the country and around the world with a message of peace. In 1996, she published her story in One Sunny Day. Now, as she approaches her 80th birthday, she seeks to reach a younger audience with an urgent message through a self-published illustrated children’s book, titled When a Peace Tree Blooms.
“The night before the bombing, my mother gave me four books, including a collection of fairy tales,” she says. “Those books helped me sustain myself and also remain curious in all living things and open minded throughout the rest of my life.”
Snider’s story is one of hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation — and it’s not just for children, but for everyone in the hope that the conflagration of that day — and three days later at Nagasaki — never happens again. “I want children around the world, especially those in war-torn countries, to know that even when it seems hopeless, it is important to breathe in the joy of being alive,” she says. “If you really work at it, you will make it.”
Snider’s book ($14.95 plus shipping and handling) can be ordered online. All proceeds will go to the victims of a more recent disaster — the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.