To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, more than a thousand are expected to gather around Seattle’s Green Lake for an annual lantern floating ceremony on Thursday, Aug. 6.
“Seventy years after the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we still gather to remember, learn, understand and heal,” said Stan Shikuma, a longtime participant of the ceremony and this year’s emcee. “Peace is a process nurtured in community and shared experience, and our annual program helps that process grow.”
The lantern ceremony, From Hiroshima to Hope, which began in 1984, is the largest and oldest one of its kind outside of Japan. Attendees float hundreds of glowing paper lanterns on Green Lake to honor Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb victims as well as all war victims around the world.
Activities next Thursday begin at 6 p.m. with lantern calligraphy, historical exhibits, music and picnicking.
The official program, starting at 7 p.m., will feature musical performances by the Sound Singers Japanese Chorus, Larry Lawson, violinist Gayane Grigoryan, Mike Stern, koto player Marcia Takamura and James Jennings. Seattle community leaders Herb Tsuchiya and Razmig Keutelian, as well as Buddhist teacher Kanjin Cederman Shonin will be speaking. Estela Ortega, El Centro de la Raza’s executive director, will present the keynote speech.
At dusk, Rev. Don Castro of the Seattle Buddhist Temple will lead the Tōrō nagashi Buddhist lantern floating ceremony traditionally held in honor of the dead.
“[From Hiroshima to Hope] reminds us of what we’ve lost to war and violence,” said Fred Miller, the event organizer, “but it also reminds us of what we have in hope and community.”
The event, taking place near Seattle Public Theater at the Bathhouse on 7312 West Green Lake Drive North, is free and open to the public. American Sign Language-interpretation will be available. More information at www.fromhiroshimatohope.org.