- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 6, 2005

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — At the birthplace of the atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki 60 years ago, survivors of those deadly blasts joined with hundreds of people yesterday in support of a global ban on nuclear weapons.

“No more Hiroshimas. No more Nagasakis,” bombing survivor Koji Ueda of Tokyo said in a written statement translated into English and distributed at the rally. “We send this message to our friends all over the world, along with a fresh determination of the ‘hibakusha’ (atomic bomb survivors) to continue to tell about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, aiming at a planet set free of wars of nuclear weapons.”

Joining the Los Alamos demonstrators, peace activists at Oak Ridge, Tenn., held a moment of silence outside the heavily guarded weapons factory that helped fuel the bomb during World War II. Others gathered in Las Vegas near the Nevada test site.

In Japan, Hiroshima marked the anniversary with prayers and water for the dead and a call by the mayor for the world’s nuclear powers to abandon their arsenals and stop “jeopardizing human survival.” At 8:15 a.m., the time of the blast, the city’s trolleys stopped, and more than 55,000 people at Peace Memorial Park observed a moment of silence that was broken only by the ringing of a bronze bell.

Mr. Ueda, who was 3 when the bomb fell on Hiroshima, was joined at Los Alamos by Masako Hashida, who was 15 and working in a factory a mile from where the second bomb was dropped three days later on Nagasaki.

In an interview earlier in the week with the Associated Press, Miss Hashida recalled hearing a loud metallic noise and then seeing waves of red, blue, purple and yellow light. She said she lost consciousness and awoke outside the twisted metal ruins of the factory, which had made torpedoes used in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

By midmorning, more than 500 people had gathered in a Los Alamos park where research laboratories stood during the Manhattan Project, which developed the world’s first atomic bomb.

“In this place, where our country threatens the whole human race and the whole of creation, we repent of our nuclear violence,” the Rev. John Dear of Pax Christi, a Catholic peace organization, said in an opening prayer.

Placards carried anti-war slogans including “No More War for Oil and Empire” and “We’re sorry about Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

Across from the park, a group of veterans offered an opposing message, with a sign reading “If there hadn’t been a Pearl Harbor, there wouldn’t have been a Hiroshima.”

Steve Stoddard, 80, of Los Alamos, said the group was trying to counter the “demonizing of the bomb” by the anti-nuclear demonstrators.

“We feel the bomb saved our lives,” said Mr. Stoddard, a World War II veteran who fought in Europe. He said he believed he would have been sent to fight in Japan, had the bombs not ended the war when they did.

At Oak Ridge, about 1,100 demonstrators carrying signs and beating drums marched to the gates of the Y-12 nuclear-weapons plant. The Y-12 plant supplied uranium for the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and continues to make parts for every warhead in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

The protesters rang a small temple bell and placed paper cranes on Y-12’s barbed-wire fence. The demonstrators paused for two minutes of silence at 8:15 a.m., the time of the Hiroshima bombing.

Buddhist monk Gyoshu Utsumi, a native of Japan who walked about 300 miles to Oak Ridge from the Savannah River site, a nuclear-weapons facility near Aiken, S.C., for the occasion, said Hiroshima holds unique significance, particularly to the Japanese.

“This is unacceptable for every human being, not only for us. We cannot let this experience repeat under any circumstances,” Mr. Utsumi said.

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