Today, Monday, August 6th, is the 67th anniversary of the World War II atomic bombing on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Over 50,000 people gathered at this year’s annual event, held in order to remember the first of the world’s only two uses of atomic weapons, as well as to call for worldwide cease on the development of nuclear weapons. Held at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, a temple bell was rang to begin a moment of silence at exactly 8:15 AM, the exact time the bomb went off, taking the lives of 140,000 people.
The ceremony was attended by some of the few remaining survivors and relatives of victims, as well as government officials like Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. Many foreign national diplomats were present as well, including US Ambassador to Japan John Roos, who actually became the first U.S. official to attend the ceremony two years ago. And Clifton Truman Daniel, the grandson of former U.S. President Harry Truman, who ordered the bombing of Hiroshima, as well as Nagasaki three days later, on August 9th 1945.
Mayor Matsui gave a speech about how Japan must be the leading example for the world on efforts to end nuclear weapon development. While delving too deep into the controversy around the public’s displeasure at Japan’s return to the use of nuclear power, he did comment that the disaster at Fukushima last year was an example of how nuclear technology remains dangerous, even when used for peaceful purposes. Prime Minister Noda said that the experience and lessons of the Hiroshima tragedy must be passed on to future generations. In a twist of irony, this is the same man who ordered the restart of two nuclear reactors over a month ago, stating that they were necessary for the survival of Japan’s society and economy.[via USA Today]