Merrimack Valley People for Peace, Andover - On Hiroshima Day, August 6th, eleven MVPP members and supporters were accompanied by two musicians during their vigil in front of Old Town Hall. In solidarity with the global grassroots “Peace Wave” initiated by Gensuikyo and as a testament to the growing demand for nuclear disarmament, peace activists across the Commonwealth and in Rhode Island held some two dozen events marking the 76th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japan in August, 1945. Here are some highlights of those events. Mass Peace Action & Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility, Arlington A candlelight vigil organized by GBPSR and Mass Peace Action at the the Civil War Memorial in Arlington Center marked the 76 years since the first use of a nuclear weapon in war. The vigil followed the Arlington premiere of the Academy Award-winning film The War Game at the nearby Regent Theatre. The film is a dramatization of a nuclear attack on Great Britain and the ensuing collapse of governmental, public safety, and health institutions utterly unable to respond to the disaster. ————— First Parish Bedford UU Peace and Justice Committee Parishioners gathered on Bedford Green for a silent vigil in memory and hope as the church bell tolled at 8:15 AM, the time the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan August 6th, 1945. ————— Friends Meeting at Cambridge Members of Friends Meeting at Cambridge and fellow activists convened at the Harvard Square MBTA station to chalk the sidewalks with “ABOLISH NUKES” and other anti-nuclear weapon slogans. Afterwards the group held a community reading of Thomas Merton’s “Original Child Bomb” followed by a procession to the Charles River to float origami paper boats and peace cranes. ————— First Parish Church of Dorchester Activists gathered on the grounds of First Parish Dorchester to commemorate Hiroshima Day and express hopes for world peace. They folded paper origami cranes with the help of Akemi Chayama from the Children’s Museum. Boston public school teacher Tim Nagaoka folded a giant paper crane from a 12 sq. foot sheet of paper. The evening culminated with a viewing of Paper Lanterns accompanied by filmmaker Barry Frechette.
The Resistance Center Easthampton for Peace and Justice & Nuclear and Carbon-Free Future Coalition, Peace Walkers commemorating Hiroshima Day at Nashawannuck Pond. The event, sponsored by the Nuclear and Carbon-Free Future Coalition and The Resistance Center for Peace & Justice and cosponsored by Traprock Center for Peace and Justice, Haydenville Congregational Church, Peace & Justice, and Edwards Church, featured Mayor Nicole LaChapelle and performances by the Raging Grannies and shakuhachi flute player Robert Jonas. The evening closed with lantern-floating on the pond. ————— Our Revolution Greater Fall River At 12 noon on Hiroshima Day, members of Our Revolution Greater Fall River gathered in Bicentennial Park by the Taunton River in remembrance of the somber anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After a blessing by Rev. Jim Hornsby (right) they sang songs, recited poems and prose and walked to the river’s edge to cast flowers into the water.
Traprock Center for Peace and Justice & Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution, Greenfield Read about this event in the Greenfield Reporter! Members of the New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett joined Traprock Center for Peace & Justice and Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (FCCPR) to remember victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and pray for peace on Saturday at the weekly vigil that fell on the 76th anniversary of the bombings. (Photo Ella Adams, Greenfield Recorder) ————— Actors Refuge Repertory Theatre, Jamaica Plain and online Part 1, Showa Institute ARRT presented their 5th annual Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Memorial on the eve of Hiroshima Day at the Showa Institute for Language & Culture. The evening event observed a moment of silence coinciding with 8:15 AM Friday morning in Japan. The ceremony included a performance by violinist Toshi Motoyama (above left), a reading from the children’s book Okori-Jizo and presentations by CPDCS (cpdcs.org) president Joseph Gerson and filmmaker and author David Rothauser (above right). Attendees later proceeded outdoors to the HoNanEn Japanese garden where peace lanterns had been placed by the koi pond. Part 2, Online Part 2 of the Peace Memorial Ceremony opened with messages of peace from the Mayors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The ceremony featured storytellers Tsuyoshi Takahashi, Vincent Yee and special guests Tsuyoshi Hashimoto, former Nagasaki City Councilor and his father Akira Hashimoto, A-bomb survivor (top left and right, respectively). At 10:02 EST (11:02 JPN time) a moment of silence was observed followed by a peace lantern ceremony. ————— Newton Dialogues on Peace & War The commemoration was held at Newton Center Green on Nagasaki Day and included speakers, folding of peace cranes, songs and Japanese drumming. Posters with photos of Japanese casualties and ruins of the two cities were displayed. Newton mayoral candidate Amy Mah Sangiolo stopped by and spoke very personally about her mother who lived in Japan at the time of the bombings. ————— Rhode Island Antiwar Committee, Pax Christi Rhode Island & Providence Quakers RIAC together with Pax Christi RI and the Providence Quakers engaged in a “Die In” at Burnside Park at 8:15 AM on Hiroshima Day, the time the U.S. dropped the bomb on the city. Organizers of the event are calling for the United States to sign and ratify the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Watch the entire 19 minute video courtesy Coalition Radio Network here. ————— Rhode Island Antiwar Committee, Providence This August, RIAC devoted their monthly vigil at the corner of Exchange and Washington Streets in Providence to the anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. RIAC continues to promote their support of the U.N. Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty enforced as of January this year. ————— Greater Springfield Campaign for Nonviolence GSCNV members gathered at Court Square and held peace signs and waved to passersby along Main Street. Afterwards they proceeded to the gazebo for a reading of Thomas Merton’s Original Child Bomb by people from four faith traditions (Unitarian Universalist, Baha’i, Islam and Jewish). A Buddhist Priest spoke about cultivating peace from a Buddhist perspective. The program closed with a prayer from the Christian tradition. ————— Walpole Peace and Justice Group A vigil at Walpole Common was held in solidarity with the global Peace Wave on the 76th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japan. The activists called on the U.S. to support the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and advocated for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Members read from Thomas Merton’s poem Original Child Bomb and honored Ora McGuire, who devoted her life to peace-making, including the folding and giving away of thousands of peace cranes. ————— Waltham Concerned Citizens Ten members of Waltham Concerned Citizens stood on Waltham Common holding banners and signs on the morning of Hiroshima Day on to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the bombings. ————— Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice & the Environment On Sunday, August 8 residents of Watertown and neighboring cities gathered for Watertown Citizens’ annual commemoration of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the vigil, attendees proceeded to the Charles River where they heard music performed by t0wn resident Suzy Giroux and stirring remarks from Joseph Gerson, president of the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security, regarding the extreme danger and abominable reality of nuclear weapons. As candle boats were floated on the Charles River, Watertown Citizens’ president Sue-Ellen Hershman-Tcherepnin performed on the flute. ————— SS. Francis and Therese Catholic Worker, Worcester Twelve people holding a variety of signs gathered at Lincoln Square in downtown Worcester for an hour long vigil for nuclear disarmament and in support of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.