Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Peace symbols laid to commemorate Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings

Leeds will commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings next week, at a ceremony in Park Square.

The annual event, which remembers the innocent victims of the bombings, will take place at the Mayors for Peace memorial, in the centre of Park Square, on Monday 9 August, 65 years to the day since the Nagasaki bombing.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna will lay a wreath to commemorate the anniversary, after which members of the public will be invited to make and lay origami paper cranes, a world wide symbol for peace, alongside the memorial.

It was on 6 August 1945 when a huge nuclear bomb called ‘Little Boy’ was dropped on Hiroshima. Three days later another nuclear bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki causing devastation. Over 200,000 people were killed and tens of thousands more suffered serious injuries in the two attacks.

The event will begin at 10:45am and will include readings of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki 2010 peace declarations by the mayors of each city, the laying of a wreath by the Lord Mayor, a two minutes silence, readings of poetry written by survivors of the bombings and the placing of the origami cranes.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna said:
“This annual service gives people in Leeds the chance to reflect and remember the terrible events of 1945 that happened in Japan.

“I encourage people to attend the event and take the time to remember and consider the effects on innocent civilian populations of modern warfare.”

Notes to editors:

The event is organised by Leeds City Council’s Peacelink group - a liaison group between the council and the various peace, humanitarian, development and faith groups in the city.

The idea of placing the paper origami cranes is from Sadako Sasaki. Sadako was a young Japanese girl who died from leukaemia caused by radiation ten years after the bombing in Hiroshima.

Before she died, Sadako folded almost a thousand origami paper cranes.

Sadako began her project because of a legend that said anyone who folded a thousand paper cranes would be granted a wish. She wished to be healthy again, and she pursued her goal with such determination that, although she died of her disease, she succeeded in transforming the paper crane into a symbol of peace for children all over the world.

Ends

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk