On August 6, 1945, during the Second World War, atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States. More than 200,000 lives were lost then, but did you know there are about 170 trees that survived and are still thriving even after the nuclear bombing?
The Green Legacy Hiroshima initiative was established in 2011. This project aims to distribute seeds and saplings from trees that survived the atomic bomb in 1945 to symbolize peace and resilience.
The Hiroshima Bombing
Hiroshima was the center of manufacturing in Japan. There were about 350,000 people known to live in the area during the Second World War. It was selected as the first target of the nuclear bombing planned by the United States.
After arriving at the US base on the Pacific Island of Tinian, more than 9 thousand pounds of uranium were loaded on the B-29 bomber. At 8:15 in the morning, the plane dropped the bomb called Little Boy by parachute. It exploded at about two thousand feet above Hiroshima, destroying five square miles of the city.
Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender on August 15, 1945, via radio broadcast. The news spread quickly, and celebrations of Victory in Japan broke out all over the United States and its Allied nations. The devastation and chaos after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki almost wiped out the two cities. Infrastructure was destroyed, and thousands of people died. (Source: History)
The Bell of Peace
On August 7, 1982, World Citizens of Peace hosted the first commemoration of the bombings. By 1985, the organization wrote to Iccho Itoh, the mayor of Nagasaki at the time, requesting an object from the small town to symbolize reconciliation between the two nations.
We would like to cooperate in your Peace Memorial by presenting your city with a model of the ‘Bell of Peace’ which is a symbol of peace in our city. The original Bell was recovered from the ruins of Urakami Catholic Church, and rung everyday to console the survivors of that catastrophe. It rings out now from the steeple of the reconstructed church, and a model of it is on display in Peace Park near the hypocenter of the atomic bomb explosion.Iccho Itoh, Mayor of Nagasaki
On August 3, 1985, during the 40th anniversary of the bombings, the mayor of Richland, Washington, Bob Ellis, accepted the Bell of Peace on behalf of the city.
Truly, I am touched by the gift from the mayor of Nagasaki and the people of his city. I think the desire for peace is universal in the hearts of mankind.Bob Ellis, Mayor of Richland
Green Legacy Hiroshima
The Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiative is an international volunteer campaign that aims to disseminate the universal message of the trees that survived the Hiroshima bombing during the second world war. The Initiative was created by two friends Nassrine Azimi, and Tomoko Watanabe, in 2011.
GLH expresses the chaos Hiroshima experienced by recalling the dangers of nuclear arms and delivering a message of how humanity thrives in peace of nature and resilience. Currently, the seeds and saplings from the bombed trees are growing in over 30 countries. (Source: Green Legacy Hiroshima)