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Ceremonies mark observance of atomic bombings

In remembrance of the World War II atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, the week of Aug. 6 will be dedicated to various observance events in Ashland and Medford.

The week begins with the sounding of a gong at 8:15 a.m. Monday, Aug. 6, at the entrance to Lithia Park, marking the time the first atomic bomb ever used in war exploded. Rev. Dakudo Michael Galvin of the Ashland Zen Center will offer a spiritual reflection after he sounds the gong. Then, Councilor Stefani Seffinger will read a city proclamation declaring Aug. 6 a day of remembrance for Hiroshima and Aug. 9 for Nagasaki. The director of the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission will also speak, followed by a traditional water ceremony to close.

Ashland artist Betty LaDuke will present sketches she recently made in Hiroshima at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7, in the community room at the Medford Library, 205 S. Central Ave. An award-winning documentary, “Hellfire: A Journey from Hiroshima,” will show immediately after. The documentary is about a series of 15 paintings by Iri and Toshi Maruki depicting the aftermath of the bombings. These paintings are now known as the Hiroshima Panels and have been viewed by more than 100 million people around the world. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

A facilitated discussion titled “Nuclear Danger and Safety” will give participants the opportunity to discuss their feelings about living under the threat of nuclear threat. The event is at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Ashland, 44 N. Second St.

The observance will close with a 5 p.m. ceremony Thursday, Aug. 9, the day the second bomb fell, and will feature a choral performance of the Japanese Association of Southern Oregon in the Japanese Garden in Lithia Park. Attendees will be invited to float sunflowers in the pool while Rev. Paula Sohl of the Ashland Congregational United Church of Christ leads a spiritual reflection.

“Even as the threat of a nuclear catastrophe increases, a new pathway to lasting security has opened: The UN-sponsored Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, opened for signing by the nations last year. The hope it offers, and the call to citizen action it prompts, will be the focus of the 2018 Hiroshima-Nagasaki Observance in the Rogue Valley,” according to a press release from the planning committee for this year’s observance.

The organizers said that since the treaty to abolish nuclear weapons opened for signing on Sept. 20, 2017, 59 nations have signed document. None of the nine nuclear weapons states, however, including the U.S., has indicated support.

For more information, contact Herbert Rothschild, head of the planning committee, at 541-531-2848 or herbertrothschild6839@gmail.com.

Submitted photoThe Hiroshima and Nagasaki observances will include a choral performance of the Japanese Association of Southern Oregon .