DSC02722, a photo by Peace Walks on Flickr. Click on the photo for more images from today’s ceremony.
Approximately 30 people came out to the United Methodist Church this evening for a Hiroshima Day Ceremony.
The ceremony was led by participants in the five day, “Walk for a Nuclear Free Future” a walk through the Connecticut River Valley aiming to bring awareness to the hazards of the nuclear industry – from uranium mining to radioactive waste stored onsite at local nuclear reactors.
Organizer Tim Bullock started the ceremony with a few words about the walk before asking three walkers to share why they were walking, and some of their experience with the walk.
Dr. Jehann El-Bisi spoke of the afternoon at Arise for Social Justice and learning of Unifirst in Springfield, a laundromat that washes clothing contaminated with radiation. She spoke of several young people who walked briefly with the group, “They were hungry for the truth.” She said.
Next was Friederike Rukauf who is here as a sort of European ambassador. “Where I grew up in Berlin was not so close to Chernobyl,” she began, “But I still remember how we were affected. My sisters were not allowed to play in the woods because the rain was still […] radioactive.”
A welcome visitor to the ceremony was Westfield City Councilwoman Agma Sweeney. She shared with us her connection to the island of Vieques, PR, an island that the U.S. Navy used for testing Depleted Uranium (DU) bombs in 1999 without telling the people.
Following these stories Tim Bullock spoke about Hiroshima, and the 300,000 people who died instantly when the first Atomic bomb in the history of the world was dropped in Japan sixty-seven years ago.
Participants lit candles for all of those killed or otherwise affected by radiation in the last 67 years including Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Chernobyl, Fukushima, Iraq, the U.S., and Australia.
They were invited to circle the display of photos from Fukushima, Hiroshima, the gulf war while the walkers said a prayer for peace.
Violinist Sarah Hubbard, winner of the Daniel Pearl memorial violin shared her music during the ceremony.