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Eugene Honors Hiroshima-Nagasaki Nuclear Bombings With A Peace Tree

?More than 80 people showed up to Alton Baker Park in Eugene Tuesday night to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings in Japan. This year organizers planted a tree of peace. 

Taiko drummers opened the annual event that honors the lives of the estimated 200,000 plus victims of the nuclear bombing. Participants spoke out against nuclear weapons and war, and they talked about significance of survivors seeing regrowth. 

“They had been told that nothing would grow there for 75 years but the spring of 1946, green sprouts started to come out, out of charred trunks of trees, or out of the roots and it gave them hope,” Susan Cundiff, an organizer for the event, said.

The freshly planted Japanese persimmon, called the Hiroshima Peace Tree, is descended from one of those trees. Cundiff said it’s meant to instill a sense of hope and serve as a reminder to never let the same devastation happen again.

There are only 3 other trees like this in Oregon, all of which come from seeds that belonged to trees that survived atomic bombing. The trees are part of a local and international intiative to spread awareness by distributing seeds around the world. 

The Community Alliance of Lane County sponsored event included drumming by Eugene Taiko and singing by the Yujin Gakuen Children’s Peace Choir.

Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.