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.
“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.
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.
“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.