Remembering Hiroshima 75 years later
The destruction of Hiroshima, Japan and the death of more than 60,000 of its citizens happened in single instant, unleashed by a weapon the likes of which had never been seen before—the atomic bomb.
That destructive force of the Little Boy bomb was enriched uranium, produced in the calutrons of the top-secret Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance will hold a Names and Remembrance Ceremony at the main entrance to the Y-12 weapons complex on Thursday, August 6, 2020, from 6:00 – 9:00am.
In the aftermath of the bomb, fires raged, thousands more died of wounds and burns, and medical personnel, overwhelmed, struggled to treat the wounded and those suffering from something never before seen—radiation poisoning.
Death and destruction were not the only thing the Bomb wrought. It also called forth unparalleled courage and survivors rose to tell their stories, to make clear the atrocity and inhumanity of the Bomb, and to call the world to join them in declaring “Never Again!”
The voices of the hibakusha, the survivors, will be heard during the Names and Remembrance ceremony, and the annual Peace Declaration of the Mayor of Hiroshima will be read.
The Names and Remembrance ceremony begins at 6:00am and will continue until 9:00am, with a pause at 8:15, the time the bomb detonated over Hiroshima.
Because of the pandemic, we will wear masks and practice social distancing, and we are adapting the regular program to minimize or eliminate risk of exposure. We do not expect a large crowd, but we are asking you to contact orepa at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 865 776 5050 by August 3 to let us know you if you are coming. If the number is too large (because our space is limited) we may establish a schedule for attendees.
We realize, given the trajectory of the pandemic in our community, many will not be comfortable taking the risk of exposure. Please do not come if you feel you may have been exposed to the virus, if you are in a high-risk category, or if the nature of a public event is more than you want to risk. Our gathering is mainly to bear witness on this commemorative date, and we do not need a large crowd. But if you want to come, you are welcome. Please bring a mask, your own folding chair, and whatever you will need (water, etc).
Since 1945, atomic and nuclear weapons have not been detonated in war. But they have been used to threaten; they have been tested with devastating contamination of people and the environment; they have resided in silos, submarines, air force bases and Navy vessels, on hair trigger alert, threatening the annihilation of life on the planet at any moment. They have grown more sophisticated and more deadly, the risk is greater now than ever before—which makes it more important than ever before that we face Hiroshima, understand it, hear the voices of the hibakusha, and join with them in the work of ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
If you can’t join us in Oak Ridge, please take a moment out of your day to contemplate the meaning of Hiroshima and to commit yourself to the task of nuclear abolition.
Remembering Nagasaki 75 years later
OREPA’s annual peace lantern ceremony often draws a hundred people, and we gather in a circle and sing, dance, and read together before we watch shadow puppets and launch dozens of lanterns into the Tennessee River in memory of Nagasaki.
This year will be different. We will still gather at the far west end of Sequoyah Hills Park in Knoxville, in the field adjacent to the parking lot at the west end of Cherokee Boulevard, at 8:00pm. We will gather on SATURDAY, AUGUST 8 — which is August 9 in Nagasaki and is not a school night in Knoxville.
We will wear masks, practice safe distancing, and organize the event to prevent exposure to the coronavirus to the maximum degree possible. Even so, with transmission numbers high in Knoxville, we are not encouraging people to come if they will be uncomfortable or if they are in high risk categories.
Our program will be abbreviated, preserving some of the elements we have each year. We will read a litany together, quietly. We will forego dancing and the shadow puppets that require us to congregate closely together. A designated lantern launch person will handle putting the lanterns into the water.
Even with those changes, we believe it will be a meaningful evening, and we welcome all who want to come out to express our hopes for peace and embrace our dream of a world free of nuclear weapons.