Source: National Park Service | Release | August 5, 2020
Manhattan Project National Historical Park will observe the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japan, which occurred in August 1945 in the waning days of World War II. The National Park Service will mark the anniversary of 75 years since Hiroshima and Nagasaki in a ceremony that is meaningful and sensitive to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to state COVID-19 restrictions, the park has tailored the commemoration events to provide both virtual and a limited in-person event to recognize these significant moments in world history and reflect on the many wartime sacrifices and losses experienced by millions during World War II. The following in-person event, with appropriate social distancing protocols, will occur at the following park location:
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
On August 6 the Park will host a sunrise (6:48 am EDT) ceremony at the International Friendship Bell in Bissell Park (http://exploreoakridge.com/international-friendship-bell) with music from an Oak Ridge Civic Music Association quartet. On August 6, 1945, the US Army Air Force dropped the uranium-fueled Little Boy atomic bomb over Hiroshima in the first of the only two nuclear bombings of a population in history. The Manhattan Project facility at Oak Ridge produced the uranium used in the Little Boy bomb.
Members of the public are invited to take turns ringing the bell. Each person can ring the bell for whatever reason that speaks to them. They can ring the bell for lives lost; they can ring the bell for social justice; they can ring the bell for service and sacrifice; they can ring the bell for peace. After each bell-ringer has rung the bell, they are invited to record the reason why they rang the bell. Small pieces of paper and pens will be provided. Bell-ringers will then place the paper in a receptacle, and park staff will later catalog the papers for historical purposes.
We understand that not everyone who wants to ring the bell will be able to come to the August 6 event. Therefore we have developed a virtual bell ringing option on the park’s webpage (https://www.nps.gov/mapr/learn/historyculture/75th-commemoration.htm) which will be available from 6:00 am EDT on August 6 through midnight PDT on August 9. Virtual bell-ringers will also be able to document their reason for ringing the bell on the website and listen to A Blessing of Cranes compose by Abbi Betinis and sung by the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers. A Blessing of Cranes is inspired by the story Sadako Sasaki and composed to share Sadako’s wish for peace.
From August 9 through the end of the month, the park will host Lights for Peace, a virtual commemoration marking the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. On August 9, 1945, the US Army Air Force dropped the plutonium-fueled Fat Man atomic bomb over Nagasaki in the second and so far, the last, nuclear bombing of a population. The Manhattan Project facility at Hanford produced the plutonium used in the Fat Man bomb.
Lights for Peace features the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers singing Over the City composed by Karen P. Thomas, and flickering lights of candle luminaries filmed along the banks of the Columbia River in Richland, Washington. Commissioned for the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Over the City is dedicated to the bombing victims of Hiroshima and is sung in both English and Japanese.
Additionally, the public is encouraged to explore and participate in the following virtual programming:
Messages of Peace ( https://www.nps.gov/mapr/learn/historyculture/messages-of-peace.htm ) Manhattan Project National Historical Park is soliciting origami cranes with messages of peace from the public. This origami crane project provides an opportunity to amplify the voices for peace and will collect and share messages of peace from people around the world. The messages of peace will be shared on social media and will be archived in a time capsule to be opened on the 100th anniversary of the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
75th Commemoration Webpage ( https://www.nps.gov/mapr/learn/historyculture/75th-commemoration.htm ) Manhattan Project National Historical park has developed a webpage with content commemorating events and will include:
- articles about the Manhattan Project and related 75th topics,
- a timeline of key events leading up to the Trinity Test and the bombings, an opportunity to virtually ring the bell and listen to the music of the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, and
- a pre-recorded ranger program about Sadako Sasaki and the symbolism of the origami crane.
The scientific research and wartime actions of the Manhattan Project have profoundly shaped the last 75 years of human history. Please join the National Park Service in remembering these world-changing events and sharing personal messages of peace. www.nps.gov/mapr
Formally established in November 2015 via a Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Energy and the National Park Service to preserve portions of three World War II sites (Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Hanford, Washington) where the United States developed the first atomic weapons, the park marks the history of the people, science, events, and controversy associated with the creation of the atomic bomb in the top-secret effort known as the Manhattan Project. Under the agreement, the National Park Service and the Department of Energy jointly manage and administer the park.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.