Hiroshima remembered

Before Hiroshima Day 2005, a two-hour program in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombings, began this past Saturday, audience members promoted their own causes. As Chicagoland folk artist and activist Dave Martin strummed a tune from the chancel, another man roved the aisles, instructing people to make a phone call and five copies of a flyer claiming the United States is dumping uranium on Iraq. “Imagine having a child born without an eye because the United States dropped bombs on your country,” he said. A man wearing a gray “Free Tibet” T-shirt and toting a National Resources Defense Council Member carryall showed Addicted To War to those seated around him, explaining, “It’s designed like a comic book, but the historical content is deadly serious.”

During the ceremony, Chicago singer Maggie Brown regaled the crowd with Vaughn Monroe’s “When The Lights Go On Again,” the title song from the 1944 film, before a series of speakers took the stage. “We gather here today in remembrance,” said Reverend Laura Hollinger, Rockefeller’s associate dean. “We gather here today in repentance. We gather here today in sorrow. And we gather here in hope.” The speakers, drawing parallels between the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and the ongoing Iraq war, emphasized the dangers of nuclear proliferation and warfare. David Cortright, president of the Fourth Freedom Forum and a fellow at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, called nuclear weapons “instruments of terrorism,” warning that more than 40 nations have the full capacity to build them. “We’re here to renew our commitment to a world where Hiroshima and Nagasaki can happen never again,” said Illinois State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie, AB’68, AM’73. “The threat today is just as real as it was.”

The commemoration, organized by Illinois Peace Action, concluded with a march to Nuclear Energy, the Henry Moore sculpture marking the campus site of the first controlled self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. “You have come here to light a flame of hope and extinguish the flame of death,” said the Reverend Calvin Morris. Attendees dropped candles into a bucket of water, symbolically putting out the atomic flame.

Hana Yoo, ’07

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Photos (left to right): Folk singer Dave Martin; beginning the march to the Henry Moore sculpture; extinguishing the atomic flame.

Photos by Hana Yoo, ’07.

August 8, 2005