On Aug. 6, the 1945 nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be marked with a Lantern Ceremony at Memorial Park in Winnipeg. The keynote address will be given by MP Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas) on a private members bill (C-447) now before Parliament for the establishment of a Department of Peace.
Date: Friday, August 6, 2010
Place: Memorial Park (by the fountain, York Avenue and Memorial Boulevard)
Time: Lantern making begins at 7:30 p.m.; speakers begin at 8:30 p.m.; lanterns will be launched at 9:15 p.m.
The annual commemoration of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings is part of a world wide observance held to promote nuclear disarmament and world peace. In Winnipeg, the event is sponsored by the Manitoba Japanese Canadian Citizens Association, Peace Alliance Winnipeg, and Project Peacemakers.
In August, 1945, after 6 months of firebombing attacks on 67 Japanese cities, US President Harry Truman ordered the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9). The death toll was enormous – 140,000 in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki by the end of 1945. Many more thousands died over the months and years to come from injuries and illnesses caused by radiation poisoning.
For many years, Winnipeggers have commemorated these tragedies and reaffirmed our commitment to peace and freedom from nuclear terror. We symbolize our commitment with a Lantern Ceremony.
The Lantern Ceremony is part of an ancient Buddhist Ceremony (O-Bon), that commemorates the lives of deceased loved ones. For many years around the world, this ceremony has been used on Hiroshima Peace Day to remember and embrace the memory of people who died because of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. During these ceremonies, participants are invited to design a lantern that represents their thoughts and feelings regarding personal losses, global concerns of peace, nuclear disarmament and any other issues relevant to keeping our planet safe.
Video of last year’s Lantern Ceremony in Winnipeg
Sadako and a Thousand Paper Cranes
In addition to lanterns we will be making origami peace cranes to commemorate the story of “Sadako and a Thousand Paper Cranes.”
Sadako Sasaki, a young girl of 10 years old, became sick with leukemia from the effects of the atomic bomb in post war Japan. She believed in an ancient tale that if you made 1000 paper cranes, you would be granted a wish. She wished for good health.
She died before she completed making the cranes and her classmates completed the task for her.
Each year, thousands of paper cranes from all over the world adorn the statue of Sadako in the Hiroshima Peace Park in Hiroshima, Japan.
Bill C-447 – An Act to establish the Department of Peace
Bill Siksay, MP (Burnaby-Douglas) is the mover of Bill C-447 – An Act to Establish a Department of Peace. Seconded by Jim Karygiannis, MP (Scarborough-Agincourt ), the bill passed First Reading in the House of Commons, Sept. 30, 2009. Mr. Siksay will speak about this bill at the Lantern Ceremony.
You can read the full Bill in English and French, here: Bill C-447
According to the Campaign to Establish a Canadian Department of Peace, the mandate envisioned for the Minister of Peace is to “reinvigorate Canada’s role as a peacekeeper and peacebuilder” as follows:
1. Develop early detection and rapid response processes to deal with emerging conflicts and establish systemic responses to post-conflict demobilization, reconciliation and reconstruction
2. Lead internationally to abolish nuclear, biological, chemical weapons, to reduce conventional weapon arsenals and to ban the weaponization of space
3. Implement the UN Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (1999) to safeguard human rights and enhance the security of persons and their communities
4. Implement UN Resolution 1325 on the key role played by women in the wide spectrum of peacebuilding work
5. Establish a Civilian Peace Service that, with other training organizations, will recruit, train and accredit peace professionals and volunteers to work at home and abroad, as an alternative to armed intervention.
6. Address issues of violence in Canada by promoting nonviolent approaches that encourage community involvement and responsibility such as Restorative Justice, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR)
7. Support the development of peace education at all levels including post-secondary peace and conflict studies
8. Promote the transition from a war-based to a peace-based economy.