The following report was provided by Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice & the Environment:
On Sunday evening August 9, over sixty people gathered for an annual remembrance of the more than 210,000 lives lost in the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Organized by Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment, the remembrance was co-sponsored by
Massachusetts Peace Action (MAPA), New England American Friends Service Committee and Survival Education Fund.
Following a silent, socially distant vigil throughout Watertown Square, folk singer/guitarist Suzanne Giroux offered moving musical tributes on behalf of the survivors who continue to inspire our country and the world to abolish nuclear weapons. Watertown High School upcoming senior Caiden Kiani recited a poignant Bahá’i prayer, and pastor Gary Richards of Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church urged attendees to oppose violence in its many forms. Watertown activist/author Joseph Gerson instructed us to learn the facts, to examine the myth that depicts the dropping of the atomic bombs as necessary. Eileen Kurkoski described the thousands of origami peace cranes that were folded and distributed worldwide this year by Japanese survivors, and how she spearheaded crafting into pins the many hundreds that were given to the Mass. Branch of the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom. Mass. Peace Action Executive Director Cole Harrison shared news of the activities taking place all over the state, including efforts to stop the manufacture and spread of nuclear weapons in our own backyard at Raytheon. Some attendees emphasized the relationship between nuclear violence and racism, poverty and environmental destruction. Others emphasized the
importance of working to elect political candidates who support redirecting the trillions earmarked for US nuclear weapons into things like housing and education.
After sunset, the crowd crossed the street to the Galen St. bridge, carrying handmade lanterns. From there, people watched canoers launch traditional, handmade candle boats on the river to honor the innocent men, women and children killed in the gruesome bombings, as well as the many today who suffer from devastating injuries, cancer, and birth defects due to the lingering effects of severe radiation after 75 years. As the boats floated by, the river glowed with candlelight, while solo flute music from Sue-Ellen Hershman-Tcherepnin wafted from the dock.