Community members got together to share their hopes for world peace.
The Lanterns for Peace event, hosted by the Nanaimo chapter of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, was held Tuesday night at Maffeo Sutton Park.
Thirty-nine floating lanterns were illuminated and set down in the water of Sway’A’Lana Lagoon, where a canoeist towed them along in slow circles before bringing them back to shore.
Earlier in the ceremony, Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog proclaimed Aug. 6 Hiroshima Day in Nanaimo, marking 74 years since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.
Krog thanked organizers of the lantern ceremony and also those who attended the event, for renewing their commitment to peace.
“Around the world, we see so much that would leave most of us, I think, somewhat frightened about the prospects for peace,” the mayor said. “And I think … there is a certain complacency and it’s a frightening complacency. Because those of us who have the opportunity to live in this wonderful community, in this peaceful land, in this great country that I still regard as a model to the world in terms of how people of so many different values and races and religious views can live together in what is by every standard, genuine peace, I am troubled that so much in the world is not like Canada.”
Krog said there is much to accomplish to ensure that the “horrors” of what happened in Hiroshima – and Nagasaki days later – won’t be repeated.
Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly also talked about the lessons of the atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities.
“We have to keep that close to our hearts and to our heads. We’re here to remember this horror, but [also] to understand what we need to do going forward to work towards justice in the world, to work towards peace and to work towards freedom,” Manly said.
Tuesday’s ceremony also included musical performances.