Tuesday morning ceremony near Y-12 recalls Hiroshima bombing

OREPA Protest at Y-12 National Security Complex

A Tuesday morning ceremony in front of the Y-12 National Security Complex will recall the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945, near the end of World War II. Y-12 enriched uranium for the bomb. Pictured above are protesters at last year’s annual event.

A Tuesday morning ceremony near the Y-12 National Security Complex will recall the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945, during World War II, organizers said.

The annual event at the front of Y-12 includes a Names and Remembrance Ceremony. It’s sponsored by the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance.

Organizers say they will “raise voices in solidarity with survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima who say, ‘Never Again!’”

A press release said more than 60,000 people were killed instantly by the “Little Boy” bomb, the world’s first use of an atomic or nuclear weapon. The highly enriched uranium that fueled Little Boy was produced at Y-12 in giant cyclotrons, called calutrons, as part of the Manhattan Project. The bomb was dropped shortly before the war ended and three days before a second bomb, this one a plutonium weapon code-named “Fat Man,” was dropped over Nagasaki, Japan.

“Long before Hiroshima, George Santayana wrote, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,’” said Ralph Hutchison, OREPA coordinator. “The survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima have been courageous enough to stand before the world to tell of the most horrific day of their lives—their purpose has never been to accuse or seek revenge; they strive to make sure it never happens again. They have a memory to share that no other human beings outside of Japan have, and their message is profoundly important for everyone who cares about the future. That is the spirit we bring to the Names and Remembrance Ceremony.”

The ceremony is “doubly appropriate,” OREPA said, because Y-12 continues to produce thermonuclear cores for U.S. nuclear weapons.

“The past, present and future come together in this place,” Hutchison said. “We can’t change the past, but we can do something about the present, and it will make a great difference for a future that is threatened by nuclear weapons.”

The Names and Remembrance ceremony begins at 6 a.m. and concludes at 9 a.m.; it will take place at the intersection of Scarboro Road and East Bear Creek Road. The reading of names of victims of Hiroshima is accompanied by the pealing of a bell and the presentation of peace cranes. First-hand accounts of the bombing, poetry, and artwork of survivors are also part of the program. A moment of silence at 8:15 a.m. marks the moment of the detonation of “Little Boy” over Hiroshima; the silence concludes with Buddhist drumming and chanting.

“It is a calm and solemn ceremony,” Hutchison said. “We invite people to join us in that spirit. People who come are welcome to join in the reading or simply to observe and reflect.”

The list of names of Hiroshima victims includes Japanese residents and visitors in Hiroshima, as well as citizens of the United States, Germany, Australia, and other countries who were in Hiroshima on Aug. 6.

For more information, call Hutchison at (865) 776-5050.

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  • Sam Hopwood

    Hiroshima bomb…… Made in Oak Ridge, tested in Japan, saved countless lives. Good job by all!!

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