ROCHESTER, MN — It has been 68 years since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and events are happening in both Japan and the U.S. to remember the tens of thousands who were killed in 1945.
It is not a typical nightly event in town.
“It’s been fun. Mostly we’ve just been sitting at the table decorating the lanterns and getting ready for those,” said Ryan Shriver of Rochester.
Shriver has been meaning to get to the Peace Lantern Ceremony for years, but now he has finally made it for the first time and he brought his kids.
“We have the wars going on around the world, but remembering the huge event that it was that ended World War II with the bombing and to remember that the fight continues to get peace around the world,” Shriver said.
Since 1985, a group in the city of Rochester has gathered to hold the Peace Lantern Ceremony.
“Floating lanterns are a tradition in Japan that started a long time ago and then after the Hiroshima bombing, they took this event and then started the Peace Lantern Ceremony there and Nagasaki follows that,” said event organizer, Junko Maruta.
They decided it was time to bring that same message to southern Minnesota.
“We like to remember, not forget. Not forget what happened in 1945 because atomic bombing, or atomic weapons, are really killing weapons. It’s really inhumane,” Maruta said.
That is why those like Shriver feel it is important to make their presence known.
“It’s important to be out to participate, to see what it means to the community and to other people, and to remember,” Shriver said.
A service was also held in Hiroshima on Tuesday to remember those killed in 1945 and three days later, people in Nagasaki also come together to float lanterns as well.