Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima

Lay Missionary Gertrude Samson reflects on her visit to Hiroshima last year and invites us all to advocate for peace in the world.

August 6, 2020 was the 75th Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Normally in Milton Keynes Peace Pagoda people float lanterns that they have made on the lake there to mark the many lives effected. I was planning to go with some of my co-Columban missionaries and friends to the lake today to do just that but sadly, due to the coronavirus pandemic the event was cancelled. Still, surely I believe they  sounded the hand held paddle drum of the pagoda and recited their chant “NA MU MYO HO REN GE KYO”.

Last year before the actual event I got the chance to visit the bomb site with a friend and met a Buddhist nun Martau Anju, from Japan. She allowed us to explore the place which is indeed very peaceful. I joined them in their chanting with accompaniment of paddle drum beating. She showed us too a sample of the lantern that would be floated to the lake on the actual day. To my surprise she invited us to design a paper for the lantern with the motif “What peace means to you?” To me “Peace means joining hands together in love and unity” and so I draw two hands joining together forming the shape of a heart.

Honestly for me it was an honour to draw on that paper lantern. It is my humble way as a Catholic missionary to join hands with them in their advocacy for peace in the world. I believe war, any form of bombings, and any form of cruelty like that should end.

Perhaps we can all commemorate it too and you can have reverence in your own way? Me personally, I meditated and prayed for those who lost their lives and recited “Eternal rest grant to them Oh Lord let perpetual light shine upon them, may they rest in peace. Let their souls and the souls of all your faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen!”  I also lit a candle too. Hopefully by God’s grace, this coronavirus pandemic will be over soon and we can all visit the place and join in their advocacy for peace.

Were you able to commemorate the anniversary this year? How are you advocating for peace in the world?