Scores of people people gathered in Alexandra Park last Tuesday (August 6) for the annual commemoration of those who lost their lives in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Activist Rona Drennan opened the event, organised by peace group Hastings Against War, and introduced Mayor Nigel Sinden who spoke of the events of August 6, 1945 when a uranium bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and three days later when a plutonium bomb exploded above Nagasaki.
He commented on how the bombings were made that much more devastating because of the fragile building structures commonplace in Japan at the time.
Activist, artist and co-editor of Peace News Emily Johns read out a poem by Toshi Maruki, an artist who witnessed first-hand the aftermath of the attack on Hiroshima. The poem, Bamboo Thicket, describes in simple, graphic detail the horror unleashed by the first ever use of an A-bomb on a human community.
Fiona MacGregor, from Hastings Against War, gave an update of the current attempts to ban nuclear weapons through the United Nations. To date 70 nations have signed a UN treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons and 25 states have ratified the treaty.
The commemoration event in Alexandra Park included singing by community choir Las Pasionarias, including the song Gonna Lay Down My Sword and Shield, with its refrain of I ain’t gonna study war no more. At dusk members of the Soka Gakkai Buddhists chanted, and then floating lanterns were released on the lake in the traditional Japanese style.
In other news: