Remembering Hiroshima

4 August 2011

An important anniversary will be observed in Hiroshima, Japan at 8:15 am on August 6.  That is the time and date that the first atom bomb was used.  I would like to share with you some of the words that I am going to offer this evening at an Interfaith gathering at the UN Chapel called,  "Let the Bells of Peace Ring!”  Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Memorial.

Please join me in prayer to remember those who lost their lives that day.  May this anniversary also be used to open our hearts and minds to the horror of war, and the consequences of nuclear weapons then and NOW. 

I want to share a perspective that continues to impress me as I reflect on Aug 6, 1945 an the time since then.  I want to acknowledge a response of the Japanese people to the nuclear bomb that is seldom discussed. I have had the good fortune of meeting many people from Japan and to have visited there. My husband spent his life in the photographic industry and was employed for 30 years by a Japanese company.

Never once, have I been held personally accountable for the horrors that my country inflicted on Japan in 1945 by dropping the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Over 180,000 people died because of these weapons. Why do the Japanese people NOT Hate us?  Why don't they work to make us the enemy?  What can we learn from the Japanese people? 

My prayer for today is that we can embrace the determination, strength, humility and LOVE  that must have been there for the people of Japan to rebuild in 1945.  We must also learn to recognize the horrors that we are capable of creating and work hard to make sure that nuclear weapons are never again used by us or anyone else.  I pray that whatever was core in the hearts of the Japanese people that allowed the forgiveness, determination and courage in 1945 can be found in each person's heart in the USA and around the world today.  This spirit is inspires me and yet I can't even name it. I know that it doesn't even get addressed often. 

My follow up prayer is that the country who could rebuild after 1945 can do it again as they address the horrors caused and still unfolding at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors.   

May the people of Japan receive our prayers of remembrance, protection and love today.  May we all recognize the personal and and collective responsibilities we have to protect one another and the Earth.

May Peace Prevail on Earth!

Monica Willard