"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Sunday, May 15, 2011

HIROSHIMA: Monument to my mother

"I, too, am a hibakusha" (nuclear bomb survivor)--in spirit
     The date has been decided. On June 12, which would have been her 96th birthday, a monument to my mother will be unveiled in Hiroshima's Peace Park.
     For her years of humanitarian and moral support to the survivors of the first two nuclear bombs dropped on human beings in 1945 and for founding the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima in 1965, the hibakusha (literally "fire-bombed people") determined to build a monument to her.
     It has been years in the making, involving the forming of a Monument Committee, the drawing up of plans by a design company, many changes in wording and photo used in the design, and permits from the International Peace Promotion Department, City of Hiroshima for permission to erect the monument in the SE corner of their Ground Zero.
     Not the least of the obstacles the committee had to overcome were the strong objections by some members of our family to spending money on a monument to Mum at all, and to calling attention to her rather than giving the money and attention to the survivors themselves. They pointed out that Mum herself opposed the idea during her life.
     But the hibakusha persisted.
     Others of us kept correcting, fine-tuning the English wording on the monument or preferring a different photo (the original choice, which was black and white, looked "grim," as my brother Ted put it).
      Each request for a change required that the Monument Committee reconvene to consider it. (Finally, I see, they scrapped the over-critiqued text and kept only one quote and the fact that Mum founded the World Friendship Center.)

This is the proposed monument, one of only three monuments dedicated to foreigners at Hirohima's Ground Zero.:
Monument to Barbara Reynolds, SE corner of Peace Park, Hiroshima

Lord willing, this is where Jerry and I will be on June 12.


  1. Hi Jessica! We finally have internet at our house here in Japan! What a wonderful thing-this monument! How awesome! Do you have any idea when this may happen??

  2. OOps- comment posted before I was done! Is this a for sure date?