“May this Flame of Hope be a symbol for peace, not only for us but for our children, grandchildren, and many generations to come.”
Despite this time of social crisis during covid-19, many Dutch cities commemorated the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Although it accelerated Japan’s surrender in World War II, the atomic bomb attack killed 250,000 innocent people and caused unimaginable suffering, including American and Dutch POWs and later generations.
On August 6, 2020, in the city of Almelo, situated in the southeast of the Netherlands, a ceremony was organized in collaboration with the Embassy of Peace Almelo, Pax (a global Christian organization), the city’s public library, and the municipality.
On this occasion, a photo exhibition was inaugurated in the library about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings. The exhibit seeks to create awareness of the importance of banning nuclear weapons worldwide, a movement that started after the Second World War in the Netherlands and around the world.
The Dutch Flame of Hope committee contacted the Embassy of Peace Almelo just a day before their scheduled event. While there was little time to adapt the ceremony schedule, the Embassy of Peace Almelo welcomed the Flame of Hope with utmost enthusiasm and open arms!
Led by 93-year-old ceremony master Ab Gietelink, whose friend survived the Nagasaki attack as a POW, speakers from different corners of the world came to Almelo to reflect on the atomic bomb’s effect on the world and spread the message for peace.
The mayor of Almelo, Mr. Arjen Gerritsen, questioned the historical reasons for using the atomic bomb on Japan and talked about the importance of learning from the indescribable human suffering caused by the disaster. After the speech, the mayor added his wishes and prayers for peace to the Flame of Hope.
“May this Flame of Hope be a symbol for peace, not only for us but especially for our children and grandchildren,” he said.
Cobi Noordhof, ambassador of Peace Almelo, then told an impressive story about a girl named Sadako Sasaki. She survived the first atomic bomb attack but later died at the age of ten from leukemia, cancer that she got from the bombs’ radiation.
The story went, if Sadako folded a thousand cranes, her wish would come true. Of course, she wished to get better. She folded many birds but died after all. Her friends and many others took up crane folding and so began a movement to calm and soothe those children’s souls who died from the atomic bomb and create future peace, which became a worldwide movement. Every year approximately ten million cranes arrive from all over the world to Hiroshima with a strong wish for peace.
Cobi handed a crane to the mayor as a symbol of peace for our planet.
Video report made by AAvisie on this day (subtitled in English)
“Flame of Hope”
in all children’s heart!