Jenny Marra : Speech at Hiroshima Commemoration, Dundee

6 August 2012

I read last night that the grandson of Harry Truman, the American President who authorised the bombing of Hiroshima, is visiting Japan to mark this anniversary today.

67 years after the bombing, he is the first Truman to visit Japan.

His visit is sponsored by the peace group Sadako Legacy, named after Sadako Sasaki, an A-bomb victim who died of leukemia at age 12.

While in the hospital, Sadako folded hundreds of paper cranes after hearing a legend that people who make 1,000 origami cranes can be granted a wish.

Origami cranes have since become a symbol of peace.

Truman’s grandson, a former journalist, met Sadako's 71-year-old brother, Masahiro Sasaki, who survived the bombing, at a peace event in New York in 2010.

They agreed to work together to deepen understanding between the two countries, which are still divided over the question of the legitimacy of the atomic attacks.

"There are other opinions, there are other points of view, and I don't think we ever finish talking about that," Daniel said.

“The important thing is to keep talking, to talk about all of it."

To talk seems like a small act in comparison with the act of his grandfather, President Truman who authorised the Atomic Bombings and their horrific consequences.

But perhaps Truman the grandson is doing today as much as he can do, and in a way, exactly the same as we are doing now.

Only by continuing to talk and continuing to walk up here every year will our dream of a world free of nuclear weapons become a reality.

It is when people with hope and change in their minds and hearts cease talking, that the beacon of change is diminished.

That is why I have hope that the first Global Arms Trade Treaty currently being stalled at the UN, will make progress.

The more voices that continue to speak out against weapons and talk of peace everyday, the brighter our hope burns.

Because change comes when the voices become so loud that they cannot be ignored, when they become the progressive majority.

David Grimason, a young Scot who lost his two year old son to a gun attack in Turkey is travelling Scotland and the world talking about his experience and why the arms trade should end.

All he can do is talk, to bear witness to the destruction of life through the use of weapons, to add his voice and hope for more, to talk more about why weapons are wrong.

This is why our vigil is important tonight.

Because we will continue to talk about a more peaceful world and we believe in the power of our peaceful voices.


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