Lanterns light the night to mark atomic tragedies

Victoria Raging Grannies are organizing an annual lantern ceremony to mark the bombing of Japan during Second World War

Yumie Kono is preparing for a surge of emotion when she reads the poetry her mother wrote after two atomic bombs forever changed their lives.

Sixty-six years ago, Kono’s older brother and father were killed when Hiroshima was decimated in the atomic blast delivered by the U.S. on Aug. 6, 1945 during the Second World War.

“It’s very sad and dramatic,” the Victoria resident said of her mother’s poetry, written less than two weeks after the bombing.

To mark the anniversary of the tragedy that leveled Hiroshima and three days later Nagasaki, the Victoria Raging Grannies are organizing an annual lantern ceremony on Tuesday (Aug. 9) with support from several groups, such as the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society.

Dozens of paper lanterns will be decorated and released along the Gorge River. Children from First Metropolitan United Church will be reading stories written by children who went through the bombings.

“It’s not only a memorial for those that died in that senseless bombing, but also we want people to remember the history so we won’t repeat it,” said Fran Thoburn, one of the original Victoria Raging Grannies.

There will also be music and singing, a moment of silence and Kono will be reading her mother’s haiku and tanka poems.

Kono, who was a baby at the time of the bombing, said she doesn’t consider herself an activist. But once a year when she reads her mother’s words at the ceremony, she hopes young people learn from the past.

“They are the future, the next generation,” said Kono, adding that the message about the dangers of nuclear weapons and energy is especially poignant after a tsunami and earthquake wreaked havoc with Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant in March.

“I wish we didn’t use nuclear power. It’s very dangerous,” said Kono.

The free family friendly event happens Tuesday (Aug. 9) at 7 p.m. at Craigflower Park where Admirals Road and Gorge Road West meet in Saanich. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair for sitting.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kenny Podmore, here seen at Sidney’s cenotaph in November, says he feels for the veterans after organizers had to cancel an event acknowledging Victory in Europe (VE) Day for the second time in as many years because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich event marking 75th anniversary of VE-Day cancelled

Sidney resident first planned event for May 9, 2020 moved to May 8 before being cancelled

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to bring their unwanted electronics to Tillicum Centre May 14 to be shredded, recycled or donated. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can shred, donate electronics safely

Vancouver Island Better Business Bureau hosts event May 14 at Tillicum Centre

Penelope the cat showed up safe and sound at her owner’s porch after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing)
Penelope, cat and friend of the Victoria HarbourCats, returns home safe

The cat had an after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks

Stanley Fischer (right) died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. Forty years later, his family is questioning his cause of death. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Family wants investigation into man’s 1981 death while in Victoria police custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found hanging in his jail cell

The Compost Education Centre is hosting its annual spring plant sale on May 8 at 1216 North Park St. Physical distancing protocols will be in effect during the sale, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Black Press Media file photo)
This weekend: Tenth annual spring plant sale hosted by Victoria Compost Education Centre

The non-profit event Saturday, May 8 will feature numerous varieties of plants, live music

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read