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75th Anniversary Of The Atomic Bombings Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki

This year also marks the 45th anniversary since the late Mia Tay organised the first lantern ceremony in Christchurch to commemorate the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Photo credit: Christchurch City Museum

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Memorial on Sunday 9th August at the World Peace Bell at 11am.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Across the globe, events and commemorations are taking place to mark this historical event, to remember the hibakusha (Atomic bomb survivors), and to say, “Never Again!” to the use of nuclear weapons.

The memorial will be held on Sunday 9th August at the World Peace Bell in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens, between 11 and midday. The World Peace Bell will be rung to mark the time that the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Speakers include Angela Woodward, a disarmament verification specialist, the Mayor’s representative and students Olivia Shimasaki and Sarina Mackey, both reading excerpts from Japanese Hibakusha. There will be two musical contributions. All are welcome to attend.

The World Peace Bell providesa direct link with Nagasaki. The pounamu (greenstone) beneath the bell was divided into two and the other half of the stone is under the peace sculpture which Christchurch and 5 other cities gifted to the Nagasaki Peace Park. There is also a camphor tree planted near the bell which is propagated from the famous one which survived the atomic bombing. It was gifted to Christchurch by the late Nagasaki Mayor Itoh.

This year also marks the 45th anniversary since the late Mia Tay organised the first lantern ceremony in Christchurch to commemorate the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and remember the dead and surviving Hibakusha (atomic victims) from around the world. There had been earlier marches organised by Lincoln Efford and the Peace Pledge Union in 1947 and later by Elsie Locke and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the early 1960s (Press photo attached).

Since the earthquakes, Victoria Square has not been used for the traditional lantern floating on the Avon River, although some of the old lanterns will still be lit. This represents the intention in peace campaigner Elsie Locke’s words ‘to work for the removal of all nuclear weapons and for a peaceful future for all.’

This event is organized by the Disarmament and Security Centre (DSC) and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) (Otautahi branch).

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