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In peace, they honor Hiroshima

Saturday marks 60 years since the first atomic bomb fell upon the Japanese city.

Published August 4, 2005

ST. PETERSBURG - As the sun sets Saturday, two local groups will set lanterns afloat on Tampa Bay to mark the 60th anniversary of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima.

The Hiroshima Memorial, organized by Pax Christi Tampa Bay and the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Pier approach at Bayshore Drive and Second Avenue NE. The gathering will also remember those who suffered and died during World War II.

Saturday's ceremony will be more than an occasion to remember the world's first dropping of an atomic bomb, said Anne Richter of Pax Christi, a national Catholic peace movement.

"I think it's not only something of the past. Today, there is a nuclear legacy that we're living with," she said.

Rick Ferriss of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship said this is the first year his group has participated in the event designed to raise awareness of nuclear issues.

"The important thing is to draw attention to it without forcing anything down people's throats," Ferriss said.

The United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. Three days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped, this time on Nagasaki. Tens of thousands of people died immediately or soon after the bombs were dropped. For years, others continued to die from radiation poisoning. The bombings led to Japan's surrender on Aug. 15, ending plans for what the Allies believed would be a costly invasion of the island nation.

Saturday's remembrance will include comments and readings from participants and moments of silence. At sunset, peace lanterns, made with wooden bases and sheets of paper bearing designs and messages of peace, will be set afloat on Tampa Bay.

"We really do this in solidarity with the people in Japan, because this is how they remember the people who died," Richter said.

The lanterns will be retrieved after the ceremony, she said.

[Last modified August 4, 2005, 01:04:11]

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