Hiroshima Peace Ceremony

I know I’ve been a little MIA from here because I’ve been busy blogging about Project Hibakusha : Hope for Peace. Over the past 11 weeks, I have traveled to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Yokohama, Tokyo, Honolulu, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles to meet with hibakusha and organizations committed to world peace.

In Japan, I attended the World Conference against A & H Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and not only got to meet with hibakusha, but also people from around the world who share a common goal – peace on Earth. What was really inspiring was to see so many young people passionate about world peace. You can read more about my experience here.

Of course I took lots of pictures while I was there, which is what this blog is all about.

August 6, 2009 was a hot and humid day in Hiroshima, Japan. The air was thick and the cicadas were loud. (I thought the crickets outside my window at home were noisy) Heiwa-dori (street) was blocked off as police with white gloves guided the throngs of people walking toward Peace Park to attend the 64th annual Peace Ceremony to remember those who passed away and to call for peace throughout the world.

Before the ceremony, a father explained to his daughter the meaning of the ceremony.

Students (and dignitaries) presented flowers at the Cenotaph.

Children folded paper origami cranes and others brought tributes to those who have passed away.

After the ceremony, thousands of people wait in line to pay their respects. Yes, I waited in line with them to pay my respects.

At night, thousands more gathered to release paper lanterns on the Motoyasu River (top photo) or place candles around the Genbaku Dome.

It was a busy day in Hiroshima. A day spent remembering a day many would like to forget. But we can not forget that day, nor the days that followed. We can not forget how devastating nuclear weapons can be. We can not forget how it not only destroys the land, but also how it destroys people’s lives.

The sentiment felt by most of the people of Japan, the only country to have ever been bombed by a nuclear weapon, can be summed up with this slogan for peace created by a hibakusha: No more Hiroshimas. No more Nagasakis. No more war. No more atomic bomb victims.

NOTE: If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to support my peace project, please go to the Project Hibakusha : Hope for Peace blog and in the right hand column, you can read how you can make a donation.