SEATTLE -- Hundreds of people are expected to observe the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima by floating paper lanterns on Green Lake on Tuesday.
Seattle has been holding "Hiroshima to Hope" annually since 1985, one of largest such observances outside Japan. Organizers say it is a time to reflect on the 166,000 lives lost when the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Three days later, on August 9, the Americans dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing 80,000.
Peruvian folk music filled the air as families picnicked on the shore of Green Lake. The event brings together community organizations, peace and religious groups who want to promote peace. Members of the Sikh and Japanese American communities were present, as well as groups helping decorate the lanterns with Japanese calligraphy.
At dusk, the lanterns would be floated on Green Lake in a Japanese tradition called "toro nagashi." The lanterns, it is said, guide the spirits of the departed to the next world.
Organizer Nancy Dickeman says she participates to re-dedicate herself to pursuing peace in the world. As someone who grew up at Hanford where the plutonium for the Nagasaki bomb was produced, she says she has a personal tie to the bombings 68 years ago.
"We cannot let this happen again," she said.