Honolulu, Hiroshima join for annual ringing of Hiroshima peace bell

Published On: Aug 06 2013 05:56:56 PM HST   Updated On: Aug 06 2013 07:49:50 PM HST

Sister cities forever linked by warfare came together Tuesday as a sign of peace.

Honolulu and Hiroshima are essentially the bookends of World War II. And just as Dec. 7 is Hawaii's day of infamy, Aug. 6 marks Hiroshima's.

Tuesday in Chinatown was the annual ringing of the Hiroshima peace bell.

Using bells and branches of Chinese banyan, Rev. Daiya Amano purified and blessed the bell and those who came together to remember that day 68 years ago.

"Eighty thousand died that day. One hundred-thousand by the end of that year. Two hundred thousand were dead within five years as a result of that bomb," said Don Anderson, retired president of YMCA of Honolulu.

The bell is a replica of the Hiroshima peace bell and a gift from the Hiroshima prefectural government to recognize the sister-city relationship between Honolulu and Hiroshima.

Among those taking part in the ceremony were Hawaii teens from the YMCA  who visited Hiroshima as part of an exchange program that began 52 years ago.

The Hiroshima Nishi Little League Baseball team was also there, led by Hiroshima bomb survivor Keigo Hakojo, who lost several family members in the Hiroshima bombing.

"Today is an important day for Japanese people, and also the day is important day for all people of the world. We must not forget Hiroshima," said Rev. Takamasa Ayamamura, of the Honolulu Myohoji Buddhist Temple.

As the bells were rung, children bowed as a sign of gratitude and respect for the day.

"And so let us ring the bell for people today remembering the people of Hiroshima and the one humanity we are, and let us hear the sound of peace in every flower of every day," said Kahu Kaleo Patterson, of the Pacific Justice and Reconciliation Center.

Honolulu's sister relationship with Hiroshima began at statehood in 1959.

The bell was dedicated in 1990 and placed next to the Izumo Taishakyo Mission.


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