August 6 is a significant day in Japanese society and culture. Known as “A-Bomb Day”, an annual Peace Memorial Ceremony is held to console victims of the destructive Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings of 1945, and to pray for lasting world peace.
Participants in the ceremony include families of those who died as a result of the atomic bomb, as well as people across the world in memory of the tragic event.
The ceremony itself involves Dedication of the Register of the Names of the Fallen Atomic Bomb Victims, Silent Prayer and Peace Bell, a Peace Declaration by the Mayor of Hiroshima and Commitment to Peace by children’s representatives.
The atomic bomb of August 6, 1945 was the first atomic bomb to drop in human history, and it alone resulted in the deaths of 20,000 soldiers and 70,000-126,000 civilians, perhaps many more.
Imagine what we could do if the resources that we spend on war could be spent on people, on agriculture, on infrastructure, on art, on fighting climate change, on improving our lives.
As Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1783:
I join with you most cordially in rejoicing at the return of peace. I hope it will be lasting, and that mankind will at length, as they call themselves reasonable creatures, have reason and sense enough to settle their differences without cutting throats: for in my opinion there never was a good war, or a bad peace. What vast additions to the conveniences and comforts of living might mankind have acquired, if the money spent in wars had been employed in works of public utility. What an extension of agriculture even to the tops of our mountains; what rivers rendered navigable, or joined by canals; what bridges, aqueducts, new roads and other public works, edifices and improvements, rendering England a complete paradise, might not have been obtained by spending those millions in doing good which in the last war have been spent in doing mischief! In bringing misery into thousands of families, and destroying the lives of so many thousands of working people who might have performed the useful labor.