This year’s 2007 Ashland Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration will include two full days of vigil and activity on the Ashland plaza Aug. 6th and 9th. Between the vigil days, on the 7th and 8th, films, a lecture and a play reading are planned. A post vigil event includes a photo exhibit in the Stevenson Union, SOU campus.
The Ashland Hiroshima Nagasaki Commemoration opening is Aug 6th at 8 am at the Lithia Park Bandshell. The opening will begin with an invocation by Pam Shephard of the First Congregational UCC and the lighting of the Hiroshima flame by Ashland Mayor Morrison, as Ashland is a member of Mayors for Peace since becoming a Nuclear Free Zone in 1982.
The Mayors for Peace campaign has grown to 1,651 Mayors in 120 regions and nations around the world. The Ashland vigil is following the lead of national organizations including Mayors for Peace, Global Network, Abolition 2000, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Disarm Committee.
The opening event will include information and music by Estelle Voeller, Paula Sohl, Beth Baker, Nancy Spencer, and Ashland Taiko. Local churches will ring their bells Aug. 6 at 8:15 am and Aug. 9 at 11:02 am to commemorate the bombing and the deaths of over 200,000 civilians.
After the opening, the vigil will move to the plaza where educational materials will be displayed and information and music will be shared throughout the vigil days, August 6th and 9th.
Peace crane folding and an art table will be on the plaza with nuclear education information, including petitions, postcards and letter writing material.
During the 6th and 9th vigil days on the plaza, performers including the SOU Faculty Brass Band, Whistling Elk Drum, the Rogue Valley Peace Choir Ensemble and the Peace Journey Travelers will perform. Speakers will be scheduled throughout the vigil days, including Linda Richards, Estelle Voeller, and Paula Sohl to discuss and reflect on the many nuclear issues of the past and present confronting us today.
Topics include international law, overcoming domination models to move toward cooperative security, and nuclear proliferation issues, including the current U.S. administration's nuclear weapons expansion including weaponization of space. Speakers will share inspiration from the Nuclear Weapons Free Zone movement and international campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons, such as the "Cities are Not Targets" campaign by the Mayors for Peace.
Between the vigil days, on August 7th and 8th, films, a lecture and a play reading are scheduled. A variety of films will be shown at 10 am and 12 pm and 2 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Ashland Community Center, 59 Winburn Way.
The films on August 7th include:
10 am "Lifting the Fog: The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki" a historical analysis;
12 noon "Hell Fire" a documentary of a Hiroshima couple’s artistic response to the atrocity;
2 pm "Hiroshima: A Mother's Prayer" and "Testimonies by Survivors", both from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
On the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 7th, a lecture will be hosted by the Rogue Valley Metaphysical Library 258 A Street in Ashland at 7 – 9 pm. Professor Emeritus in Philosophy and author Donald A. Wells will lecture on the theme “‘Just War’ Theory Justifies Too Much”.
Dr. Wells, author of seven books, will share his life time of study and observations to answer the question, “How did a first century Christian movement, whose members refused to join any army, get so corrupted that by 1945 most Christians not only blessed the "bombs" but went on to embrace the doctrine of global nuclear superiority to the heavens?” The event is collaboration between the RVML Lecture Series and the Ashland commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The films on August 8th include:
10 am "The New Nuclear Danger", a filmed lecture by Helen Caldicott;
12 noon "Arsenals of Hypocrisy" about weapons in space;
2 pm "The Last Atomic Bomb", Robert Richter's film of a Nagasaki Survivor.
On August 8th at 7 pm the RVML will host a play reading “The Face Of Jizo”, written by Hisashi Inoue and translated from the Japanese by Roger Pulvers. "The Face Of Jizo" is a story of a young woman survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. She struggles with her past, present and future, transforming her pain of survival to embrace living. through a dialogue with her deceased parent, a bomb victim and a loving father. The play reading will be directed by Annette Lewis, a member of the Rogue Valley Peace Choir who traveled to Hiroshima and sang at the Hiroshima Peace Park on August 6, 2006.
On August 9th the vigil will begin on the plaza at 8 am to commemorate the destruction of Nagasaki. Church bells will ring at 11:02 followed by a moment of silence. A closing ceremony will occur on the plaza at 6 pm and include Eric Navickas, Pam Shephard, Paula Sohl, the Rogue Valley Peace Choir and Nancy Spencer. Carrying the vigil into fall, large photographs from the Hiroshima Peace Museum in Japan will be on display on the third floor of the Stevenson Union hallway on the Southern Oregon University campus, beginning September 12th into October.
The local 2007 Ashland commemoration is the 22nd year of the vigil on the plaza, and this year is a diverse local collaboration, including the Rogue Valley Peace Choir, the Ashland Branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, United Nations Assn-Southern Oregon, the City of Ashland, Rogue Valley Metaphysical Library, Interfaith Peace Alliance, One Sunny Day Alliance, Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Social Action Committee, Beyond War, the Women's Resource Center at SOU, the First Congregational UCC, and Peace House, United Church of Christ, The Department of Peace, Medford Citizens for Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace Grants Pass. International sponsors include Mayors for Peace, Global Network, WILPF DISARM Committee, and Abolition 2000.
Updates and an activity chart are located at atomicvigil.net, and further information about the international campaign is available at www.mayorsforpeace.org. To become involved with the local events or to volunteer contact Linda Richards at 488-1230 or Mary Lou Lucas at 482-4266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“In honoring Mayor Itoh’s life and commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons, let us add our own commitment to this cause so critical to humanity’s future,” David Krieger, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation President.