Recap: 2022 Hiroshima & Nagasaki Commemorations
From August 2nd to August 9th, 2022, PANYS chapters and allies gathered to commemorate the anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki in 1945. These horrific events were the only time in history that nuclear weapons have been used in war, and have served as a constant reminder for the past 77 years of what is truly at stake in the struggle for nuclear abolition. Peace Action New York State stands in solidarity with the Hibakusha, with nuclear downwinders, and with all communities directly affected by the horrors of nuclear weapons, and we will continue striving for a world where every person can live free from the threat of nuclear destruction. You can view photos and recordings from 2022 commemoration events below.
Western New York Peace Center Talks “Nuclear Dangers” in Buffalo
Radio program with Vicki Ross, WNYPC Board Chair and PANYS Upstate Chair. Guests include Agnes Williams, Indigenous Womens Initiatives founder and leader, and Diane D’Arrigo, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Radioactive Wast Project Director. Topics: Remembering US’ devastating Hiroshima & Nagasaki; NPT; Indigenous suffering; West Valley clean-up action plan (urging Gov Hochul to ensure full enclosure and monitoring).
Long Island Commemorates the 77th Anniversary of the U.S. Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
On August 3rd, 2022, Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives (LIAPA) and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock (UUCSR) hosted a webinar commemorating the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombings. Speakers included Sally Jones, Board Chair of PAFNYS; Rev. Natalie Fennimore of UUCSR; Rev. Mark Lukens of Bethany Congregational Church in East Rockaway; Claire Deroche of the UUCSR Social Justice Committee; and Margaret Melkonian of LIAPA. Music was provided by Willow, Women’s Acapella Choir with Farah Chandu.
A Peace Gathering in Front of the Japan Consulate General in NYC
On August 5th, 2022, activists from the Granny Peace Brigade, Manhattan Project for a Nuclear-Free World, Pax Christi New York State, Peace Action New York State, Veterans for Peace NYC Chapter 34, and more gathered in front of the Consulate General of Japan to acknowledge the catastrophic wrong that was done to Japan 77 years ago. The coalition of peace organizations expressed support for the commitment of the Japanese people to protect their peace constitution by retaining Article 9, and in their continued opposition to Japan’s reliance on the U.S.-Japan military alliance and the U.S. nuclear umbrella. The coalition also endorses their efforts to appeal to the Japanese government to play a leadership role in supporting, joining, and promoting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The coalition’s conviction is that nuclear weapons must never be used again against any nation under any circumstances. The message of peace from hibakusha to the people of the world is an appeal for all to realize a world free of nuclear weapons.
Children’s Peace Fair in Binghamton
On August 6th, 2022, Broome County Peace Action and Veterans for Peace gathered at First Congregational Church to commemorate the horrific bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by continuing their decades-long tradition of a bell-ringing ceremony at the large outdoor church bell. A Children’s Peace Fair then followed at the same location, spreading the message of peace to youth in the community.
A Community Reading of John Hersey’s “Hiroshima” in Albany
Also on August 6th, Upper Hudson Peace Action, Tom Paine Chapter Veterans for Peace, and the Poetry Motel Foundation hosted a public reading of John Hersey’s Hiroshima. This event is normally held outdoors in Townsend Park, but had to be moved inside this year due to extreme heat.
Hiroshima tells the story of the bombing on August 6, 1945 by following the story of six of the survivors. The book version has been in print since 1946.
An Outdoor Informational Exhibit in NYC
On August 6th, 2022, War Resisters League hosted an outdoor art display and informational exhibit in Bowling Green Park, NYC, near the “Charging Bull” statue, to educate the public about the events of August 6th and 9th, 1945 as well as the ongoing threat of nuclear weapons.
A Silent Vigil in Brooklyn to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Also on August 6th, Bay Ridge Peace Action held a silent vigil in John Paul Jones Park, Bay Ridge, gathering under the banner “ABOLISH NUCLEAR WEAPONS!”
40th Annual World Peace Vigil and Community Dedication to Peace in Bellport, Long Island
On August 6th, 2022, South Country Peace Group hosted a procession and vigil near the South Country Library. Speakers included journalist and author Prof. Karl Grossman; Paul Ames; Jason Neal; Diane Atkinson; and Michelle Santantonio. The event also featured songs from singer Catherine Green. The program emphasized the existential threat of another nuclear attack and the importance of supporting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The Treaty aims to ban the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of the use of nuclear weapons by all nations. However, the U.S., Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom — the five leading “nuclear weapons states” — have not signed on to the peace treaty, which has garnered 88 signatories in 66 state parties globally.
Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace’s 48th Annual Hiroshima & Nagasaki Vigil
Also on August 6th, Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace (GVCP) hosted their 48th consecutive memorial commemoration in Avon, NY at the traffic circle of Routes 5 and 20.
Hiroshima Day Ritual and Remembrance in Syracuse
On Sunday, August 7th, local faith leaders offered a ritual of remembrance, hope, and healing at Onondaga Lake Park. Participants renewed their commitment to prevent war and honored the lives lost or forever affected by nuclear weapons in Japan and everywhere. The event ended with a Japanese lantern-floating ritual known as Tōrō nagashi that is held in Japan each year on the anniversary of the bombings to symbolize the spirits of the departing dead to the spirit world. The event emphasized informal community-building around the movement for peace and safety.
Image: Syracuse Peace Council hosts a picnic in Onondaga Lake Park, August 7, 2022.
Community Outdoor Gathering in Staten Island
Also on August 7th, Peace Action of Staten Island and the Unitarian Church of Staten Island hosted an informal gathering in the church’s backyard as part of their Summer Forum Series. Photos were displayed on the church fence to educate the public about the devastation wrought by the atom bombs on Japan in 1945 and the need to abolish nuclear weapons. The informal gathering included a potluck, a table for origami and crafts for children, and a short program of reflections and music. Attendees were invited to bring a short poem or personal reflection to read out loud on what this anniversary means to them. The young wonderful violinists, Eric and John Michaels, as well as other musicians performed. The purpose of the gathering was to encourage our community to reconnect around values of peace and social justice.
Tableau, Press Conference, and Call to Action in Syracuse
On Tuesday, August 9th, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, activists gathered in front of the Onondaga County Courthouse for a tableau demonstration to depict the horrors of nuclear war and the hope for the future can be brought about by collective action from the public and our elected representatives. Dr. Don Hughes, anti-nuclear weapons activist and Le Moyne College Instructor, Mickey Belosi, President of Central New York NOW, Mary Kuhn, County Legislator, and others spoke about the immediate risks of nuclear and climate catastrophe due to war in Ukraine. They also addressed how the cost of nuclear weapons, including the amount paid by Onondaga County residents alone (estimated $32 million per year) robs local communities of resources for urgent needs like health care, childcare, lead poisoning, public transportation, and climate change. The group called on elected officials and the public to act by supporting policies outlined in national campaign, Back from the Brink | Bringing Communities Together to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (preventnuclearwar.org) | View a video of the event on Facebook.