News

    New Yorkers Mark 60th Anniversary of Atomic Bomb with Universal Peace Day

    Multimedia

    Audio

    At 8:15 on the morning of August 6th, 1945, a U.S. military plane dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. The world's first nuclear attack - which was followed 3 days later by another on the city of Nagasaki -- killed over 100,000 civilians, and helped bring an end to the U.S.-Japanese war.

    In the United States, as around the world, people gather to mark the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing and to ponder its meaning for today. In New York City, many people are taking part in "Universal Peace Day."

    Reverend T.K. Nagagaki, a Buddhist priest, is sounding a gong at the exact time in New York when the Hiroshima bomb was detonated in 1945. This signals the start of a silent community walk from his temple on Manhattan's Upper West Side to a large interfaith service at the stately Riverside Church. "In Eastern tradition, silence has more power than the voice," he says. "So through silence we are really talking loud. Just the presence of the walk creates the feeling of peace."

    Reverend Nakagaki says there's a connection between the cultivation of inner peace and the prevention of violence such as the Hiroshima bombing. "From the Buddhist point of view, nonviolence is very important, not only outside but also inside. Which means within our mind we need to create the peace that is free from hatred, greed, and self-centeredness. But at the same time, inside connects to the outside," Reverend Nakagaki says, noting that Buddhist scriptures say, "Your enemies will never make peace in the face of hatred. It is the absence of hatred that leads to peace."

    SuZen, a key organizer of Universal Peace Day, hopes the event will "transform a day of remembrance into a rededication to life." She says the spirit of the occasion is about more than religion or politics. "It's really to focus on the terrible bombing of Hiroshima and the senseless deaths that are created by war," she says. "Our hope is that people will hear us. And perhaps if we have one day of peace where the whole world will stop and visualize peace, this is good; maybe they can decide we can do a second day and a third day."

    Universal Peace Day planners say they did not want to dwell entirely on violence and war. The Reverend Doctor Robert Brashear, who leads the Christian prayer at the service, says that celebration and wholesome revelry are central to the commemoration. "Because when you are talking about peace, you are not just talking about the absence of war. You are talking about a sense of wholeness," he says. "You are talking about a sense of joy and life. You are talking about understanding that the life we have is a gift. Celebration is a part of that. What we have to do is to give people images of beauty. And if you can see that inside of ourselves, or perhaps even begin to feel what it's like when the feeling of warmth starts and begins to grow and fill us, then you can see what the purpose of this event is about."

    One of the event's most well-known participants is folksinger and political activist, Pete Seeger, 86. He suggests that even those who don't participate in one of the many events marking the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing can take time to reflect on the event.

    "I'd say wherever people are, no matter what you're doing, whether you are alone, or with your family, or in the middle of a baseball game, for there to be few moments of silence to realize that we are all in danger of wiping out the human race," he says. "During this minute of silence, you can look at the sky; you can look at the trees and the view around you. In general, life is worth preserving!"

    Other events commemorating the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima include a vigil and teach-in at the Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Laboratory in New Mexico, where major research for the first bomb was conducted; a rally near the Lawrence-Livermore nuclear weapons lab in California; and a remembrance ceremony at the Y-12 Nuclear Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where fuel for that first bomb was made.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora