Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Imagining a World Without Nukes- Peace is in our Hands- Des Moines Annual Remembrance of the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

By Christine Sheller

Sunday, August 6 the annual remembrance in Des Moines of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was held, titled “Imagining a World Without Nukes- Peace is in our hands”.  It was attended by over 100, at the traditional location- the Japanese Bell on the State Capitol grounds.  It is the longest running annual peace event in the U.S.  Catholic Peace Ministry worked along with cosponsors to put the program together.

After opening remarks from Erika McCroskey, director of Catholic Peace Ministry, she read excerpts from the proclamation by the current Mayor of Hiroshima, who makes a speech annually on this anniversary of the nuclear bombing.  Second, Jess Hoffert, led the group in a new song, “Peace Be Still and Know that I am God”, written by Shawn Kerschner.

Voices from Hiroshima was the next item on the program.  There were 5 readings, all echoing voices of people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who spoke after the bombing.  These readings were obtained from a museum in Japan which one of the event planners had visited.  Following each reading was an interlude of short meditative music on violin, by Mariah Mann.

                                             (Jess Hoffert/ IPN)

Maureen McCue then spoke, from Physicians for Social Responsibility, with “Lessons from Today’s Ban the Bomb Initiative”.  She spoke about the signing of over 100 nations pledging to live without nuclear weapons, and the intention for more nations to sign, among other things.  Jeffrey Weiss, peace education director at Catholic Peace Ministry gave some closing remarks, and we closed with the song, “Let there be Peace on Earth,” before lining up to lay flowers on the bell and each person ringing the Japanese Bell.

Christine Sheller is media editor and coordinator of Iowa Peace Network.  She is a graduate of Bethany Theological Seminary.

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