EVENT: Remembering So We Don’t Forget – The Bombings Of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Friends and residents of Pennswood Village in Newtown will gather Monday to acknowledge the catastrophic events of 1945 and the rededication of the community’s Peace Pole.
(L) At the time this photo was made, smoke billowed 20,000 feet above Hiroshima while smoke from the burst of the first atomic bomb had spread over 10,000 feet on the target at the base of the rising column. (R) Atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A gathering to remember the devastation the United States caused by dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, will take place on Monday at 11 a.m. at Pennswood Village in Newtown.

Barbara Simmons, a peace advocate for more than three decades and the former executive director of the Peace Center, has been committed to marking the somber anniversary of the two nuclear tragedies where approximately 150,000 innocent victims were instantly killed. 

READ: Counting the dead at Hiroshima and Nagasaki

“I went to the school where 218 students were killed instantly — vaporized as they played or sat at desks — the epicenter of the bomb,” Simmons wrote in an column penned for the Beacon last year about the bombings.

The destruction caused by the bombs was captured on film by Joe O’Donnell, a U.S. Marine, who Simmons had the opportunity to meet when she visited Japan.

“He showed me many of the photographs that he initially sent back to the states but later learned were never shared with the public,” she wrote.

READ: Why I Commemorate The Bombing Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki

Japan 1945: A U.S. Marine’s Photographs from Ground Zero, a book of O’Donnell’s photographs, was subsequently published.

Simmons plans on sharing the story of one of the survivors who was a child at the time along with a few of O’Donnell’s images.

Additionally, a rededication of the Pennswood Village Peace Pole will also take place at the event. The community’s Peace Pole was given and installed by the Peace Center in 2000 and symbolizes a standing vigil for worldwide peace.

READ: Stained Glass, a poem on the horrors of war

“We have not used a nuclear weapon in 78 years and that, in of itself, is a miracle and so when others commit themselves to saying we want to make sure we don’t forget so this doesn’t happen again, that to me is inspiring,” Simmons said.

The public is invited to Monday’s event which is free of charge. Pennswood Village is located at 1382 Newtown-Langhorne Raod in Newtown.

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Jenny Stephens

Jenny Stephens is a freelance journalist who has written for a variety of publications, including The Reporter. An avid collector of all things vintage, she resides in the Philadelphia area.

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