Coventry Quaker David Fish reflects on the service of remembrance for Hiroshima, on 6th August 2020.
Coventry Quakers have co-ordinated this remembrance for 34 years now – Coventry Quaker Ann Farr asked if I remembered that in the early years Quakers brought a paddling pool into Coventry Cathedral and we floated candles – like the remembrance held every year by the water in Vancouver.
And this year was different again: Ann led a silent vigil on the steps of the Old Cathedral at midday while other Coventry Quakers were like silent lilies spread out on a hillside in Coventry Cathedral nave at 4.30pm. In this momentous year of 2020 (because of Covid 19 and following social distancing regulations) the service was also momentous due to the 75th anniversary – the anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
While many watched the service being streamed online, a small number gathered in the cathedral (see picture) including the Lord Mayor, Councillor Ann Lucas; the Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor John McNicholas; supported by Coventry’s Lord Mayor’s Peace Committee, Coventry Quakers and several people from Japan whose home is Coventry.
This civic and faith based service was was led by Manjit Kaur, member of Coventry Sikh Sangat. We began with a message from the Ambassador of Japan, Mr Yasumasa Nagamine, in which he presented a commendation to the Lord Mayor’s Peace Committee’s 33 years of work with Hiroshima remembrance. Coventry Poet Antony Owen read his poem Midnight in Hiroshima dedicated to Hideko Okamoto, founder in Hiroshima of the Coventry Hiroshima Friendship Club. Vinnie Darby a student from Cardinal Newman Roman Catholic School read Sadako’s Story and Japanese Cranes of Peace were made.
Photo by Pru Porretta, Coventry’s Lord Mayor’s Peace Committee