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Nuclear tensions threaten peace

The final presentation of the Seeking Peace in the Nuclear Era: A Peace Symposium brought local peace activists and University students together Wednesday, as Hiroshima bomb survivors Keiko Ogura and Setsuko Thurlow talked about their experiences.

    The speech was hosted by the BGSU Asian Studies Program and Peace & Conflict Studies, and sponsored by the Center for Global Partnership of the Japan Foundation, Hiroko Makamoto, and the BGSU College of Arts and Sciences.

Ogura is the official story-teller of Hiroshima, as well as the founder of Hiroshima Interpreters for Peace, and witnessed the bombing at the age of eight.  With her home a mile and a half away, she was one of few in her family to survive.

    “Miraculously, not all of my family members died,” Ogura said.

    In the days before the bombing, the air raid warnings filled the air of Hiroshima. On the morning of Aug. 6, 1945, Ogura’s father ordered her to stay home from school. While walking on the road, she witnessed a strong flash and was knocked unconscious.  

    After years, Ogura still worries of the nuclear weapon tension. As a child, she practiced the evacuation drill, and children now are doing the same, Ogura said.

    Thurlow also stands for the total abolition of nuclear weapons, and works with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), who won the Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 6, 2017.

    Only 1.8 kilometers from ground zero, 13-year-old Thurlow was working at an army base in the city when a “blinding white flash” caught her eye and she went unconscious. She was later saved from a collapsed building.

    After escaping the building, she walked to a hill and saw wounded people, some carrying their own body parts. She spent the night there, watching Hiroshima burn.

    A yellow banner travels with Thurlow to most places, bearing the names of the 351 girls in her class who perished.

    “Each one of them had a life. Each one of them had a name. Each one of them was loved by someone, and they all disappeared.” Thurlow said.

    Both women continue to tell their stories and work on the total abolition of nuclear weapons. According to Thurlow, they do it to ensure the future of our children, and all the future children.

    A final talk and farewell reception will be held on Oct. 19, 2017 at the Wood County Public Library at 4 p.m.

    

    

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