Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemorations

A child launches her paper lantern into the reflecting pool during the Lantern Ceremony.

Under the theme “Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Work for a Nuclear-Free Future,” SPC and Peace Action collaborated to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombings of those cities. Thanks to the committee of Terry Gavagan, Jerry Lotierzo, Joe Marusa, Amelia Ramsey-Lefevre, Nissa Thor, Maryann Zimmerman and Carol Baum, we did more than in previous years. Understanding that there are more opportunities to present the paper crane workshops during the school year, and hoping to build better connections with faith communities, the committee has decided to meet throughout the year. Please join us. The next meeting is Tuesday, October 5 at 7:30 pm at the Center. Contact Carol Baum at 472-5478, carol@peacecouncil.net.

•           Paper Crane Workshops for Children. In preparation for Hiroshima Day, we expanded our paper crane program this summer. Activists visited classes and camp groups to teach children to fold cranes and tell them the story of Sadako Sasaki and 1,000 paper cranes. A radiation victim in Hiroshima, 12-year-old Sadako attempted to fold 1,000 paper cranes with a wish to be well. As her illness worsened, she changed her wish – she wished for peace in the world so no other children would be affected by bombs the way she had been. Explaining that this is why the paper crane is now a symbol of peace, we engaged kids in conversation about what peace means and what they can do for peace in their worlds. We visited about ten groups and talked to over 200 kids. We hope to continue this program throughout the year. Contact SPC or Peace Action to participate. 

•           Interfaith Sharing for Peace and Lantern Ceremony. On August 4, a crowd of about 65 adults and children gathered at the Everson Museum Plaza to hear prayers, reflections, poems, and songs for peace. Participants then lit candles in their paper lanterns and launched them in the museum reflecting pool.           
The annual Hiroshima procession calls for an end to nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Photos: Diane Lansing

The Interfaith Gathering represents a way for members of the Syracuse faith community to affirm their shared commitment toward building a peaceful and nuclear free world. The floating lanterns – decorated with peace cranes and personal messages of peace – were meant to honor the memory of not only those who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki but also the millions who have died in all wars.

•          Dramatic Procession.About 40 people marched solemnly through downtown Syracuse on Hiroshima Day. The march is theatrical, including banners and giant puppets, with the pace set by the beat of a drum. We distributed almost 500 leaflets and saw many onlookers taking cell phone photos. We concluded with a short gathering and together read the Community Affirmation for Peace.

– Carol Baum, Jerry Lotierzo and Amelia Ramsey-Lefevre