Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Easthampton event to mark 76th anniversary of bombings in Japan

  • Nashawannuck Pond in Easthampton GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

For the Gazette
Published: 8/1/2021 8:00:09 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Valley residents will gather around Nashawannuck Pond with candles and floating paper lanterns Friday night to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

The pond is the last stop on an Aug. 6 “peace walk” which will bring local residents together to remember the victims of nuclear warfare.

At the event, called Never Again: Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki, attendees will gather at the Emily Williston Memorial Library at 7 p.m. and walk down to the pond, where they will watch a kayak guide a set of floating paper lanterns across the water.

The ceremony, which is an annual tradition in the Valley, is meant as a tribute to a Japanese tradition, according to Andrew Larkin, one of the event’s organizers.

“Historically in Japan, they put lanterns out and float them down the stream as a memorial for people who have died,” Larkin said.

The event is intended to reflect on the 355,000 lives lost in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, but also to call attention to the present threat that nuclear warfare poses.

“We’re trying to put it in a context that’s relevant today,” Larkin said.

One way organizers are doing that is by pushing for a deeper understanding of the present-day threat of nuclear weapons, which will be addressed by speakers at the event, including Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle.

The organizers also hope to garner support for the U.S. to participate in the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The event sponsored by the Nuclear and Carbon-Free Future Coalition and The Resistance Center for Peace and Justice. Co-sponsors include Traprock Center for Peace and Justice, Haydenville Congregational Church, Peace & Justice, and Edwards Church in Northampton.

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