Solemn ceremonies are held every year on the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and Nagasaki on Aug. 9 to commemorate the memory of all the victims and to encourage people to work together for world peace.
Wars inflict not only military casualties. It is necessary to reflect also on the cost in civilian lives. Our times require us to have a realistic picture of the nuclear threat under which the world lives and to use this information for peace.
To memorialize those whose lives changed forever during WWII, we remember them personally--as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands and wives; each someone's child and part of a family. Governments and political conflicts can never change that.
Hawai'i Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, a WWII combat veteran with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and recipient of the Medal of Honor, has said, "I hope we remember. I hope it never happens again!"
"Avoiding war is attempted by showing others a superior alternative such as peace and prosperity," said Paul Laub, president of the Maui County Veterans Council. The only sure method is to "stay strong, stay vigilant and strive to do what you know is right. The great conundrum of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs is that they saved lives as well as took them," he said.
Just recently, Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa and his wife, Ann, attended the funeral of a Hiroshima survivor whose last name was Yasui. She liked to volunteer at the Ichiban Restaurant in the Kahului Shopping Center and was known as the Ichiban Grandma. She did not have any surviving relatives, so her friends there made a service for her.
"She was always offering fruits and vegetables and things she had grown or made herself," said Mayor Arakawa, who knew Grandma Yasui from the restaurant. "She was always very compassionate, very outgoing and made time for polite conversation," said the mayor. "She always asked how you were doing and was very well liked by everyone who knew her. I always thought she exemplified the type of compassionate and generous person that deep down inside, we all would like to be one day. I didn't know she was a survivor. She was always so cheerful and smiling. I only found out about her past later, after the fact."
On this anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we should remember to act as one single world toward one single goal--peace.