In 1945, the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was devastating, killing tens of thousands. However, the U.S. and Japan have since formed a strong connection.
In observance of 75 years of peace with Japan, Sister Cities International and Cupertino-Toyokawa Sister Cities, Inc. organized a virtual bell ringing for peace Webinar Aug. 5. Days before the Webinar, the CTSC committee passed out origami peace cranes with bells attached at the Cupertino Library, as well as hung them on trees at the Cupertino Civic Center, as invitations to the ceremony. In preparation for the ceremony, CTSC student exchange program delegates contacted churches, asking them to ring their bells. The committee made a 1,000-cranes display or senbazuru, that was dedicated during the ceremony.
The bell ringing ceremony started at 3:45 p.m. on Zoom. CTSC President Alysa Sakkas led the ceremony. Guests Toru Maeda, the consul general of Japan in San Francisco and Kevin O’Donnell, the Sister Cities International chair of the Japan Committee, spoke. Next, the committee played a video about the 2018 reestablishment of the Peace Park in Toyokawa, Japan, as well as its origin and significance. Cupertino Mayor Steven Scharf proclaimed the week of Aug. 5-12 Cupertino-Toyokawa Peace Week.
In parallel with the duration of the Hiroshima bombing, the participants, along with Sister Cities International, the CTSC and the city of Cupertino, rang their bells in remembrance. Sakkas ended the ceremony with a closing statement: “May we live in peace with one another, and may peace be with each of us.” (To view the ceremony, visit https://youtu.be/vvBUnxp8uuA.)
The atomic bombs were far from the only ones dropped on Japan. In 1945, Toyokawa suffered heavy civilian casualties from incendiary bombings. To commemorate this while adhering to the county’s coronavirus guidelines, the CTSC organized a small in-person bell ringing ceremony at Cupertino’s Memorial Park.