HIROSHIMA – Below is the text of a message from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon read out at the memorial ceremony in Hiroshima on the 70th anniversary Thursday of the U.S. atomic bombing:
I am honored to send this message to all participants at the Peace Memorial Ceremony marking the solemn 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. I am grateful to the organizers and all those who have gathered for this remembrance. Your commemoration should reverberate from this city across the world, reminding all people of the need for urgent action to eliminate nuclear weapons once and for all.
Seven decades after their first use in conflict, this somber occasion commemorates the tens of thousands who died that day. It honors the survivors who have suffered severe adversity in the aftermath. The United Nations stands with them, resolved to realize their vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world.
My own commitment was reinforced during my visit to Hiroshima five years ago. I will always carry the memories of meeting the survivors, witnessing the destruction and seeing the lingering effects. The courage of those who lived through this catastrophic, man-made tragedy was deeply inspiring.
The hibakusha are more than survivors — they are unparalleled champions of peace. From their searing experiences, they have forged a message of hope that someday the world will be free of these indiscriminate and destabilizing weapons.
I pay tribute to the bravery of the hibakusha and renew my resolve to advance our common cause of achieving a safer and more peaceful world, free of the nuclear shadow.
This year is also the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. The first resolution adopted by the General Assembly reflected the world’s concern about the use of atomic weapons. As you keep the memory of the bombing alive, so, too, must the international community persist until we have ensured that nuclear weapons are eliminated.
I echo your rallying cry: No more Hiroshimas. No more Nagasakis.
In the months after the bombing, it was said that trees and other plants would not grow for 75 years. Now, seven decades later, this vibrant city is proof of the resilience of its people and a monument to the indomitable spirit of humanity. You are an inspiration to the world, which has a responsibility to honor your experience by ensuring a world free of nuclear weapons.