Hiroshima marked the 74th anniversary of its atomic bombing on Aug. 6. At exactly 8:15 a.m., the time the atomic bomb was dropped, people offered a minute of silent prayer
On Aug. 6 every year, I remember my visit to Coventry, England. Many citizens of that city know about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This is partly because they have a Hiroshima Day Commemoration Service on Aug. 6 every year at Coventry Cathedral. Remembering the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they gather to pray for peace. This memorial service has been held every year since 1987.
The service includes making paper cranes of peace, introducing the story of Sadako Sasaki. Sasaki suffered from leukemia, the “A-bomb disease.” She started folding 1,000 paper cranes, hoping that she would get well again, since cranes are sacred birds in Japan and live for 100 years. However, she passed away at the age of 12.
During World War II, much of the city of Coventry was destroyed by German bombing. However, Coventry called for “peace and reconciliation rather than retaliation.” I was impressed with this spirit.
The words on a plaque at the cathedral remains in my heart: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation — Neither shall they learn war any more.” This is the prayer of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well.
Many other places around the world hold Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemoration services every year.
Every victim, hibakusha and peace-loving friend around the globe give us — the only nation to have suffered atomic bombings — a mission to strive together for peace and a world free of nuclear arms.
The last surviving crewman of the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Theodore VanKirk, said in an AP article in 2005 that “the whole World War II experience shows that wars don’t settle anything. And atomic weapons don’t settle anything. I personally think there shouldn’t be any atomic bombs in the world — I’d like to see them all abolished.”
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.