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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs