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Ashland hosts Hiroshima-Nagasaki vigil

At 8:15 a.m. Friday, a gong rang out in Lithia Park to signify the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima 76 years ago.

The event, hosted by Peace House in Ashland, brought community members together to memorialize the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

Elizabeth Hallett, director of Peace House, said the event is used to make people aware of the political climate in the world and the potential for nuclear war in the future.

“We want to draw attention to the fact that nuclear war is something that could happen. It seems like politically as a global community more and more vulnerable all the time,” she said.

Ashland, one of thousands of cities around the world that has been declared a nuclear free zone, is committed to nuclear abolition and the pursuit of world peace.

The event brought speakers from around Ashland, including Pastor Brett Strobel, who gave an invocation honoring those who lost their lives 76 years ago, but he also spoke on the state of nuclear weapons today.

“Our scientific and technological advances, along with the number of weapons produced, have the potential to exact exponential devastation,” he said.

A letter written to the city of Ashland by the mayor of Hiroshima, Kazumi Matsui, was read to the audience at the memorial.

“Having experienced the tragedy of the bombing, Hiroshima continuously appeals for a peaceful world without nuclear weapons,” the letter said.

Hallet said it is encouraging to see more people come to the event every year and create conversations about moving toward a world that is free of nuclear weapons.