‘Abolish nuclear war’: Roughly 30 convene for vigil recognizing 77th anniversary of Hiroshima, Nagasaki bombings

  • About 30 people attend Saturday’s vigil on the Greenfield Common recognizing the 77th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and Aug. 9, 1945. STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI

  • Loreto Ruiz, Tim Bullock and Gyoway Kato of the New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett attend Saturday’s vigil recognizing the 77th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and Aug. 9, 1945. STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI

  • Greenfield resident Martin Schotz with his stuffed giraffes at Saturday’s vigil on the Greenfield Common. The event recognized the 77th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945. STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI

  • Members of the Western Massachusetts Raging Grannies sing at Saturday’s vigil on the Greenfield Common. The event recognized the 77th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and Aug. 9, 1945. STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI

  • Montague resident Pat Hynes and Greenfield resident Con Trowbridge at Saturday’s vigil on the Greenfield Common. The event recognized the 77th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and Aug. 9, 1945. STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI

Staff Writer
Published: 8/7/2022 9:45:51 PM
Modified: 8/7/2022 9:42:34 PM

GREENFIELD — The message of peace was evident on the Greenfield Common on Saturday, as about 30 people attended a vigil recognizing the 77th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and Aug. 9, 1945.

The Massachusetts Peace Action organization, based in Cambridge, hosted remembrance events in 12 cities and towns across the state. The Massachusetts branch is an affiliate of Peace Action, the nation’s largest grassroots peace and disarmament membership organization, with more than 100,000 members and 30 chapters across the United States.

Some of the Greenfield vigil attendees convene on the common every week asking for peace. One such attendee is Greenfield resident Garrett Connelly.

“There may be more people today, but it’s not a different feeling than other weekends,” Connelly said. “The need for peace is the same.”

The two bombings, which led to Japan’s unconditional surrender in World War II, immediately killed an estimated 120,000 people, while tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure.

Along with the regulars was a group from the New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett that attends the Hiroshima and Nagasaki remembrance vigil annually. About five people from the Peace Pagoda came holding drums and chanting for peace. This group led a walk on Sunday from Holyoke to Easthampton, also in remembrance of the bombings.

“The only way to get peace is to stand here and educate others,” said Tim Bullock, a Peace Pagoda resident.

The Peace Pagoda movement began in reaction to the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, so Saturday’s event hit close to home for attendees from the Leverett temple.

“We are here because our mission is dedicated to abolish nuclear war and denounce war to make a sustainable world,” Bullock said.

Also in attendance were members of the Western Massachusetts Raging Grannies. This organization has chapters in Canada and America, bringing elderly women together to sing political parodies of classic songs. Saturday’s music focused on nuclear weapons.

“We want to make sure our next generation has a future,” said Sally Chaffee, a member of the Raging Grannies.

‘Why I Stand’ exhibit

Once the remembrance on the common was complete, weekly vigil attendees went across the street to The LAVA Center at 324 Main St., where they are being featured as part of a free multimedia exhibit titled “Why I Stand” taking place this month. “Why I Stand” is organized by Pat Hynes, director of the Greenfield-based Traprock Center for Peace and Justice.

In September 2002, Conway resident Mary McClintock was one of four women who came to the Greenfield Common to stand up for peace before the start of the war in Iraq. Since then, every Saturday, in almost all weather, citizens have made this central public space in Franklin County a place for messages related to peace, racial justice and more. The LAVA Center’s exhibit displays pictures and statements from frequent attendees.

The gallery is open Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit localaccess.org/art/why-i-stand.

Contact Bella Levavi at 413-930-4579 or blevavi@recorder.com.


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.


Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
 

 

Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy