Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration Guide for Faith Leaders

As members of Mass. Peace Action and of our own faith communities, we invite you to join in the worldwide commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this August, 2020. 

On August 6 and 9, 1945, U.S. atomic bombings devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing up to 226,000 immediately and instigating illness, stigma, and trauma for years to come. Hibakusha – survivors – often describe scenes of “Hell on Earth” when they remember the horrific effects of these man-made weapons of mass destruction. 

Today, in the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fight against the pandemic of racism, so many people are acting from a commitment to social change for justice, truth, restoration, and peace. We are painfully aware that the state violence that brutalizes and oppresses black and marginalized people is deeply connected with the state violence that makes our country capable of annihilating, poisoning, and harming whole populations, yet incapable of care for basic human and environmental needs. In attending to the urgent calls for change by those whom the systems of our society have harmed, we invite you to be part of the global effort to carry forward the legacy of Hibakusha (A-bomb survivors) who demand the abolition of nuclear weapons and an end to the scourge of war. 

We believe communities and people of faith are critically important, with unique capacities to respond to the experiences, insights, and demands of those who have been harmed by violence to transform our communities. 

Below, we have included some details of suggested Ways to Commemorate the 75th anniversary Hiroshima and Nagasaki Day on or around August 6th and 9th. We encourage you to participate in ways that are meaningful within your own traditions.

Ways to Commemorate and Spread the Message of Peace, Justice, and Disarmament

  • Tolling of Bells at 8:15am on August 6 (Hiroshima Day), and at 11:02 am on August 9 (Nagasaki Day)
  • Dedicate your regular service to the cause of peace and nuclear disarmament
  • Host a meditation or contemplative reading of poetry or hibakusha testimony
  • Invite members of your community to make peace cranes that are displayed at their homes or outside your place of worship
  • Sign and widely circulate the Hibakusha Appeal for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
  • Sign on (as a local, regional, or national affiliation) to the #StillHere position statement
  • We encourage you to shed light on this anniversary by sharing your community’s commemoration via newsletter, social media post, or local media
  • Consider participating in the locally-led Fund Healthcare Not Warfare campaign or the Raytheon Anti-War campaign

For ideas, inspiration, and to learn more about the a-bombings, the movement for disarmament, and the threat and risk of nuclear weapons, please check out this (evolving!) list of resources. We hope these resources will inspire and support whatever you plan! 

MAPA will be updating a calendar of events taking place across the Commonwealth for the 75-year commemoration as part of MAPA’s Call to Action.

Finally, we offer this reflection that explores a bit more deeply the ethical, spiritual, and material dimensions of the interconnected systems that dominate our society, and the power of transformative struggles to create an alternative paradigm in which justice, peace, freedom, truth, equal rights, restoration, well-being, and connection guide our social and political structures and processes.