Okinawan students attend the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony

Okinawan students attend the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony

Rei Yohena (left) and Haruka Ohashi (right) delivered their messages of peace against the backdrop of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima City on August 6.

August 7, 2011 Eriko Tamaki of Ryukyu Shimpo

Second-year students 16-year-old Rei Yohena and Haruka Ohashi of Chatan High School attended a memorial ceremony in Hiroshima on August 6 to mark the 66th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city.
Both students belong to the Chatan Town Hiroshima Peace Study Delegation.
At a memorial ceremony hosted by Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Association, the students followed the traditional dedication of water, which symbolizes the water the victims of the atomic bomb desperately needed but could not find that day, with the offering of a floral tribute.
The students delivered their messages of peace, saying, “We would like to learn about past wars and the atomic bomb, and hope that the preciousness of peace and the value of life will be passed on with a pledge to consolidate peace.”

In their messages, they made reference to the Battle of Okinawa, in which many local civilians were either killed or compelled to engage in “group suicide” (shuudan jiketsu), and the fact that the atomic bomb killed tens of thousands of people in Hiroshima, with survivors suffering permanent physical damage and psychological trauma. The students said, “Those before us lost so much because of the war.”

Referring to the crisis at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, they said, “With 66 years having passed since the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, it seems that whatever nuclear power is used for, be it for peaceful or military purposes, it could lead to life-threatening situations if mistakenly used.”
They strongly wished for a peaceful future, saying, “From this day forward, we would like to live our lives in a peaceful and hopeful world. We would like our children and grandchildren to live their lives in a world full of hope.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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