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August 6, 2015, will be the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima Day. There are many interfaith and Unitarian Universalist resources related to this day of remembrance which you can use to observe its anniversary at your congregation and in your community.


That fateful summer, 8:15. The roar of a B-29 breaks the morning calm. A parachute opens in the blue sky. Then suddenly, a flash, an enormous blast—silence—hell on Earth…

On August 6, 1945 the United States dropped the world's first deployed atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, instantly killing over 80,000 people; three days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing over 40,000.

While the bombings effectively ended WWII by bringing about the surrender of Japan, the war's end came at a terrible price: Two cities were completely destroyed and over 200,000—mostly civilian—lives were lost, with tens of thousands succumbing to radiation-related injuries and illness in the aftermath of this devastation.

In commemoration of these tragedies, Hiroshima Day serves as a day of remembrance and as a focus for anti-war and anti-nuclear discussions and demonstrations.

Hiroshima Children's Drawings

Perhaps one of the most inspiring chapters of the Global U/U Story comes out of this difficult time. On November 10, 1946, Rev. Dr. A. Powell Davies of the All Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington, DC, gave a famous sermon called Lest the Living Forget. In it, he denounced an insensitive national newspaper image celebrating the atomic bomb taskforce. The photograph depicted two admirals smiling as a well-dressed woman cut a three-foot-high cake topped with angel-food puffs in the shape of the mushroom clouds that had appeared over Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the atomic bombs exploded.

Rev. Davies's sermon, preaching conscience and compassion, came to the attention of Dr. Howard Bell, a civilian official with General Douglas MacArthur’s provisional government in Japan. Dr. Bell wrote to Rev. Davies to inform him of the heartbreaking plight of the children in the schools of what remained of Hiroshima, suggesting that American children clean out their desks and send pencil stubs and leftover crayons to the students in Japan.

In response, Rev. Davies delivered a sermon on February 13, 1947, entitled “In Reply to a Letter from Japan,” to which the children of All Souls Church responded by collecting a half ton of pencils, crayons, paper, erasers, paste, and paper clips for the Hiroshima children. The supplies arrived in Japan in December 1947 and were distributed to the Honkawa School, the Fukuromachi School, and the Ninoshimakisen Orphanage.

In appreciation, the school children in Hiroshima created original works of art in crayon, water color, pen, and calligraphic brush, which they sent back to All Souls as gifts. In 1948, the drawings, filled with life and a vision of the future, were sent on a tour of the United States by the federal government. Today, they continue to serve as a powerful message about reconciliation, peace, and hope.

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