Ashland’s 38th annual Hiroshima-Nagasaki vigil to be held at Thalden Pavilion

Hiroshima atomic bombing survivor Hideko Tamura Snider of Medford prayerfully ladles water over stones to soothe the souls of the departed at the Aug. 6, 2021, Hiroshima Nagasaki observance in Lithia Park. Estelle Voeller photo
August 5, 2022

Bombing survivor joins in ceremony on 77th anniversary, followed by planting of tree grown from seed of a tree that also survived

This year’s Ashland observance of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be held Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Thalden Pavilion at 155 Walker St., next to The Farm at Southern Oregon University. Organizers say the venue was chosen because a highlight of the program will be the dedication of a ginkgo biloba tree growing close to it that was grown from a seed of a tree that survived the atomic blast in Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. Prior ceremonies in Ashland have usually been held in Lithia Park.

One Sunny Day Initiatives, a foundation begun by Hiroshima survivor and Medford resident Hideko Tamura Snider, partnered with Green Legacy Hiroshima to secure precious seeds from legacy trees. Under the direction of Michael Oxendine, then landscape supervisor at Southern Oregon University (SOU), the seeds were nutured into 120 trees, which have been distributed across the United States, including more than 50 planted throughout Oregon in partnership with Oregon Community Trees and the Oregon Department of Forestry.

The program will begin at 10 a.m. Aug. 6 with welcoming remarks by Elizabeth Hallett, executive director of Peace House, lead sponsor along with SOU of the observance. Dan Wahpepah of Red Earth Descendants will offer the opening reflection. Tamura Snider will give expression to the collective hope for an end to the threat of nuclear annihilation. There will be a reading of the city of Ashland proclamation declaring Aug. 6 as “Hiroshima Day” and Aug. 9 as “Nagasaki Day.” The Rogue Valley Peace Choir will offer several songs. Also featured will be the traditional ringing of the gong followed by silence to mark the moment of the detonation that killed more than 100,000 residents of Hiroshima.

Closing the program at the pavilion will be the offering of prayers while ladling water over stones in a basin. The attendants will then proceed with the water over a short boardwalk to the site of the peace tree, where the dedication will take place and its roots will be watered with prayer.

Herbert Rothschild and Estelle Voeller, members of the planning committee, will be guests on Jefferson Public Radio’s Jefferson Exchange at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 5 (which will be rebroadcast at 8:30 p.m. Friday). Long active in the global movement to abolish nuclear weapons, they will discuss the nuclear weapons abolition treaty that the U.S. has yet to sign, and current dangers we face, including the U.S. failure to reenter the nuclear agreement with Iran and the strained relations between the U.S. and Russia.

Co-sponsors of the 38th annual Rogue Valley observance are the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission, Ashland First Congregational United Church of Christ, Medford Congregational United Church of Christ, One Sunny Day Initiatives, Red Earth Descendants, Rogue Valley Peace Choir, Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, ScienceWorks, South Mountain Friends Meeting (Quakers), Southern Oregon Japanese Association, and Veterans for Peace Rogue Valley Chapter 156.

Source: News release from Peace House and other event organizers. Email Ashland.news Executive Editor Bert Etling at betling@ashland.news or call or text him at 541-631-1313.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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