Hiroshima Peace Flame Run
06Aug93 Hiroshima Peace Flame Run
Santa Barbara News Press
Friday, August 6, 1993
Photo by Elaine Thompson/News-Press
[not shown here, captioned:]
Chanting Santa Barbaran David Williams helped coordinate the
"Hiroshima Peace Flame Run" that is slated to begin at about 9 a.m.
today from UCSB's Eternal Flame Memorial Peace Monument.
The rainbow-colored structure -- designed by Williams -- symbolizes
a world free of instability and nuclear weapons.
----begin retyped article text, headlined:
A call to heal wounds of Hiroshima horror
by Heesun Wee
News-Press Staff Writer
"Let us take the first step, let us, if we can, step back from the
shadows of war and seek out the ways of peace. And if that
journey is a 1,000 miles, let history record that we, in this land,
at this time, took the first step."
-- President John F. Kennedy, 1963
Thirty years later, the assassinated leader's words live on. They are
etched on UCSB's Eternal Flame Memorial Peace Monument near Buchanan Hall.
The continuous flame symbolizes peace.
The Hiroshima Peace Flame Run is slated to begin at the monument at 9 a.m.
today -- the same day America's atomic bomb devastated the Japanese city 48
years ago. About 100,000 people were killed instantly that day in 1945.
The United States dropped a second atomic bomb four days later -- Aug. 9,
1945 -- on Nagasaki, killing 40,000 people. Japan signed a formal surrender
Sept. 2, 1945.
Several Santa Barbara County residents are among a dozen runners from
California who will carry the monument's flame on a torch from UCSB to the
Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. They hope to spread the monument's
message of peace and commemorate the bombings.
"This is more of a healing run," said Shag Morrissey, a Santa Barbara
resident who will run today. The Diablo plant is about 100 miles north of
UCSB and nine miles northwest of Avila State Beach in San Luis Obispo
"We are commemorating a day when a great catastrophe occurred . This is our
way of (remembering) it," said Wonono Rubio, another Santa Barbara runner.
Morrissey and Rubio said they are running because they oppose nuclear
weapons and said the bombings illustrate the tragedy of nuclear power.
The torch will eventually reach the United Nations headquarters in New York.
The national run seeks an end to nuclear weapons.
While Morrissey and Rubio trek to the plant, numerous Santa Barbara County
churches will set aside a couple of minutes during Sunday services and
reflect on the two bombings. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in Santa
Barbara mailed 160 letters to places of worship in the county requesting
a few minutes of reflection.
"This is the first time such a large number of churches have been
contacted," said David Krieger, president of the international foundation,
which was founded in 1982 to eliminate nuclear weapons. "It seemed to us an
appropriate way to commemorate that type of significant event. The church
should have some role to play in that."
Bethany Congregational Church in Santa Barbara received one of the
letters. Chiyo Oshiro said she and other church members will include a
brief prayer in their two Sunday services. About 70 of the church's 90
members are Japanese-Americans, she said.
Some Santa Barbara County residents of Japanese descent declined to be
interviewed for this report. Others -- including native Santa Barbaran
Tom Hirashima -- said they will reflect on the bombings privately at home as
American citizens and humanitarians.
After the peace flame arrives at the plant's gates Sunday, a ceremony
remembering Nagasaki's bombing will follow on Monday, said Santa Barbaran
David Williams, the run's coordinator. Additional volunteers will carry
the torch to Atascadero Lake in San Luis Obispo County, west of Highway 101.
Later Monday, organizers are encouraging parents to bring their children
to a lantern ceremony at 7 p.m. on the lake. Youngsters will launch, on
the water, candles secured on plywood and halved plastic gallon-size milk
"There will be music, speakers and the launching of the lanterns. It's an
observance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki," said Willard Osibin, a Templeton
doctor and a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility. The group
opposes nuclear weapons.
After the lantern ceremony, the torch will be carried to the Lawrence
Livermore Laboratory in San Francisco and ultimately reach the United
Nations by Sept. 20 -- the day before the U.N. General Assembly reconvenes.
"Hiroshima and Nagasaki are symbols of the tremendous destructive powers
we're capable of by the use of weapons," Krieger said. "Without some
commemoration, that knowledge won't remain real for people."