Atomic bomb commemoration, new rally planned

The 1945 U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be remembered in a daylong vigil Wednesday, Aug. 6, followed by a rally and peace walk Saturday, Aug. 9. The public is invited to attend both free events at the Minneapolis Peace Garden near Lake Harriet.

The Minneapolis-Hiroshima Friendship Cities group orchestrated the Aug. 6 commemoration, which has taken place every year since 1985.

Local scientist Lisa Ledwidge said the Aug. 9 rally and peace walk are new, organized by a group of Twin Cities citizens "not only to commemorate the people who died, but also because the U.S. government is gearing up with plans to make more nuclear weapons. We want to voice opposition."

The Aug. 6 commemoration will start at 7:30 a.m. with gatherers hanging origami cranes on trees until 8:15 a.m., the time in Japan that Hiroshima was bombed. The cranes are a symbol of good health popularized by a Japanese girl named Sadako Sasaki, who folded hundreds of paper cranes until she died in 1955 at age 12 of leukemia caused by radiation from the Hiroshima bomb. Sadako's story will be told at the vigil, where poets, speakers, a drumming group and intergenerational dancers will perform acts of remembrance every hour on the hour until 8 p.m.

The Aug. 9 rally starts with Japanese drumming at 11:02 a.m., the time of Nagasaki's bombing. A statement from the mayor of Nagasaki will be read. Among others, Congressman Martin Olav Sabo will speak. A peace walk around Lake Harriet will start at 11:45 a.m.

The Minneapolis Peace Garden is located at the northeast shore of Lake Harriet, adjacent to Roseway Road and across from the Rose Gardens. For further details, call Lisa Ledwidge at 879-7517.