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Exhibiting Mortality

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On August 6, 1945, Allied Forces in World War II dropped the first atomic weapon used in wartime on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

The blast instantly destroyed four square miles of the city and at least 80,000 human beings. Tens of thousands more died of wounds, burns, and radiation in the following weeks.

How fitting, then, that the Los Angeles stop of the "September 11: Bearing Witness to History" exhibition is located at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, which often hosts Hiroshima Day events for Angelenos who maintain cultural ties to Japan. Up until 9/11/01, Hiroshima Day was one of the few days in the year when the world stopped to think about death on a mass scale, nuclear arms and the consequences of war.

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A project of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the new exhibit gives all Americans a glimpse of what it was like to be at Ground Zero and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

LAist wonders if the exhibit will include images or mention all the people who jumped from the burning WTC towers -- a topic that has been excised from most 9/11 hagiography. Here is a link to images and an article about Richard Drew's famous pictureof a man falling from the towers. (Warning: these two links contain graphic images.)

Los Angeles is the exhibition's only California stop, so far. We are fortunate to host the memorial exhibit since there's a strong connection between our state and the tragedy; the terrorists hijacked 4 California-bound planes and carried many of its residents. The exhibition leaves on August 15th so go soon if you plan to visit.

JAPANESE AMERICAN NATIONAL MUSEUM
369 East First Street, Los Angeles, California 90012
phone: (213) 625-0414, fax: (213) 625-1770

If you can't make it down to Little Tokyo in time, The September 11 Digital Archiveis an excellent way to remember the dead and living by recording one's own experience of the terrorist attack. WTC attack survivor and current California resident Dr. Jacobsen shares her account here.