Ceremony for Hiroshima–and a plaintive cry for peace

Me posing with David Swanson, who holds a yellow paper crane after his moving speech at the ceremony.

On August 6, 2017 I attended a beautiful event to remember the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki held at the Peace Garden near Lake Harriet, Minneapolis. Featured speaker David Swanson–author of many books against war including WAR IS A LIE (Just World Books)–offered his well researched thinking to us and to “the hundreds of thousands of ghosts” left from the bombing.

Among the many other heartfelt contributions to this event: a story about Sadako, the girl who made a thousand paper cranes for peace, before she died of leukemia as a result of exposure to radiation from the bomb. Then three schoolgirls from Nagasaki who sang a song of love and peace in Japanese.

We then held a moment of silence at 8:15 am–the time the U.S. dropped the first bomb on Hiroshima…three days later another was deposited onto Nagasaki…entire cities the size of Chicago and Los Angeles were nearly wiped out–and Japan was brought to its knees, ending that World War, but not the idea or possibility of another one. But before the silence the Veterans for Peace held their handmade bells and gave us eleven rings, to commemorate November 11 (traditionally Veterans Day but here, a reference to Armistice Day).

What really sticks with me from this morning’s event is the plaintive tone of a song, offered by two women (both graduates of Macalester College). “This is our cry, this is our prayer, peace in the world, this is our cry.”

This gentle song represents a small but crucial voice. If we do not devote our lives to bringing peace, we may all be destroyed by war.

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