POTSDAM, GERMANY – German and Japanese citizens in the city of Potsdam held a day of remembrance Saturday for victims of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki almost 70 years ago.
The city near Berlin is famed as the site where in 1945 U.S. President Harry Truman ordered the atomic strikes.
During Saturday’s event, participants released about 50 lanterns onto Lake Griebnitzsee. Truman had stayed at a lakeside building while he and other Allied leaders held what became known as the Potsdam Conference to discuss conditions to be attached to Japan’s surrender in World War II.
At a ceremony before the lanterns were released, an organizer said the day’s remembrance was not just for the victims but for the future, adding that the world must be rid of nuclear weapons.
Messages from the mayors of the two bombed Japanese cities were also read.
The Potsdam Conference was held between July 17 and Aug. 2 in 1945. The United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and another bomb on Nagasaki three days later.
On Aug. 15 that year, Emperor Hirohito announced to the nation that Japan had accepted the Potsdam Declaration, in which the United States, Britain and China demanded the nation’s unconditional surrender.