Megumi Saunders

Youth put light on atomic bombs at lantern ceremony

The lantern ceremony takes place at Esquimalt Gorge Park on Aug. 6 at 7 p.m.

First Metropolitan Church minister Megumi Saunders is bringing the stories of the children affected by the atomic bombs to life, with the help of two members from the church’s youth group.

Mira Kuroyedov, 16, and Alec Krawcyw, 14, will each be reading a story from Children of the Atomic Bomb, a collection of memoirs written by the young victims of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, at an annual lantern ceremony marking the anniversary of the bombs.

“It was a really moving experience,” Kuroyedov said of her reading last year, “especially because it was written by a girl my age, going through things I couldn’t even imagine.”

Saunders and her youth group have been participating in the ceremony for nearly a decade, since the Victoria Raging Grannies, who organize the ceremony, reached out to her.

“Being Japanese, having been to the Hiroshima Memorial five times, I realized I could bring what I know to the ceremony,” Saunders said. “But that the best way to present the stories would be through the youth.”

Yumie Kono will also be returning to read a series of haiku and tanka poems written by her mother, a survivor of Hiroshima. Participants of the ceremony will make lanterns, containing messages of hope and peace, to float on the Gorge.

“It really leaves an impression on the younger people,” Raging Grannies founder Fran Thoburn said. “I may be a bit optimistic, but I think it resonates with older people too, it helps them remember what’s important.”

The lantern ceremony takes place at Esquimalt Gorge Park on Aug. 6 at 7 p.m.

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