SANTA MONICA—A vigil in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings was held on Wednesday, August 5 at the “Chain Reaction” peace sculpture in the 1800 block of Main Street, Santa Monica. The event, titled “Never Again,” started promptly at 4:00 p.m. It aims not only to commemorate and honor the lives lost during the bombings, but also to increase public awareness of current nuclear threats and build support to ban nuclear weapons.
The event featured social justice organizations from the Southern California area, including: Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, the American Society for Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-Bomb Survivors, and Pax Christi. A Buddhist bell was rung seven times, one for each decade that has passed since the bombings. At 4:15 p.m., a moment of silence was held to observe at the exact time the bomb was dropped 70 years ago (8:15p.m. on August 6, Japanese standard time).
Junji Sarashina, a member of the American Society of Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-bomb Survivors recounted personal experience of the bombing in Hiroshima at the event. Reverend Ryuzen Hayashi of the Koyasan Buddhist Temple presented the Hiroshima Peace Flame, which was brought to California by Former Mayor Tom Bradley back in 1989. Other speakers at the vigil included: Dr. Jimmy Hara, a board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles and Robert Scheer, Editor-in-Chief of TruthDig.
Organizers are hoping the event will also help raise awareness of nuclear weapons. “On August 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, killing 130,000 people,” organizers of the event told The Rafu Shimpo Los Angeles Japanese Daily News. “Three days later, a second bomb exploded over Nagasaki, killing 70,000. Other countries developed their own nuclear weapons, and humanity became hostage to the ever-resent threat of nuclear annihilation. Whether by accident or intent, we remain at risk, and all that we hold dear hangs in the balance.”