Victoria bells will toll alongside those at the Ottawa Peace Tower and individual souls across the world on Thursday, in a global event to mark the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The bells will ring in remembrance Aug. 6 at 8:15 a.m. and 11:50 a.m., the times that Allied planes dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities. This week (Aug. 2-9) is Hibakusha Remembrance Week, honouring survivors of the bombings.
At the request of the Speaker of the House of Commons and Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May, the Peace Tower bell will ring 75 times on Aug. 6 and 9 at the appointed hours.
“These solemn tolls will be live streamed via the Peace Tower Carrillon website so they may be heard across Canada and across the world,” said carrilloner Andrea McCrady.
Sheila Flood and Yavhel Velasquez of the Victoria Multifaith Society and the Interfaith Liaison Network are leading the broader outreach to religious communities.
“We hope that many communities and individuals will participate by ‘making a noise’ at the appropriate times, not only to honour the victims of the 1945 nuclear blasts, but to signal a desire that all nations abolish this continued threat to the safety of the world’s peoples. There are no conditions under which nuclear war would be justified,” Flood said.
People around the world will join the cacophony.
“Bells will ring around the world from Halifax, to Fairfax, Virginia, to Christchurch, New Zealand,” said local organizer Bill Geimer, a member of Anglican Church of the Advent in Colwood and the Victoria chapter of World Beyond War.
There is also a live online presentation by three local experts at noon on Aug. 6. Dr. Mary-Wynne Ashford is past-president of the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War. She has twice been recipient of the Governor General of Canada Award and has participated in humanitarian missions to North Korea. Dr. Jonathan Down is current president of International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War Canada. He is a pediatrician at the Queen Alexandra Centre on Children’s Health. Magritte Gordaneer of Victoria is a student at McGill University and co-founded McGill Students for Peace and Disarmament, the university’s only peace group.
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