Around Britain

IssueSeptember 2005
Feature by David Polden, Kat Barton

All over Britain, people came together to commemorate Hiroshima and Nagasaki Days. There were vigils, ceremonies and tree plantings whilst other people chose to raise awareness by leafleting, fasting or floating peace lanterns. This is a round-up of a few of the events that took place:

In Southampton, over 100 people gathered at Bitterne Park United Reformed Church Hall for a meeting with the Mayor, Cllr Edwina Cooke, and Bruce Kent. After the meeting the audience and speakers viewed a photographic exhibition and a collection of origami birds made by two local schools and destined to be sent to the Hiroshima Peace Museum. They then moved to Riverside Park, where a giant ND symbol had been outlined in wax torches fixed in the ground. As darkness fell the ND symbol shone out, attracting a lot of attention from passers-by.


In Cardiff, CND Cymru held a vigil in the town centre on Hiroshima Day, singing songs of peace and freedom while passers-by read leaflets and put money in the bucket. A young Japanese man was stopped in his tracks, astounded to see the posters and hear the singing. He said, "When I saw you commemorating the dreadful events that took place in my country so many years ago, I could not believe my eyes. My grandfather was a Hibakusha - survivor of the bomb. I thank you for remembering him and all the other victims in your respectful and moving commemoration. While the people of Wales can remember the cruel events which took place on the other side of the world, there is hope for the future of our world."

All terrorism, all wars

This year's ceremony at the commemorative cherry tree in London's Tavistock Square had an added poignancy in that the tree lies some 50 yards from the spot where a number 30 bus was blown up by a terrorist bomb a month earlier. This made it imperative that the over 300 people present - many more than usual - should also remember the victims of all acts of terrorism and of all wars. In Birmingham, the Food Not Bombs collective offered passersby free food. In Coventry a national commemoration was held in Coventry Cathedral. In Liverpool, a group of fasters camped out overnight at the Peace Garden. All around the country Quaker meeting houses held vigils whilst Young Friends remembered by floating lanterns on the lake at York University where Yearly Meeting was being held.