Peace in the World

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Year 13 students Sarah Kmet and Katherine Lopez gave an empowering speech at the recent Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration.

The Queen Margaret College students spoke about peace and learning from the past at the commemoration held this month at the Wellington Botanic Gardens.

They were joined by a host of different schools, international ambassadors and the Wellington mayor, all reflecting on the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Sarah and Katharine said in their speech that approximately 80,000 people in Hiroshima and 40,000 people in Nagasaki died instantly while tens of thousands of people died later from the effects of the radiation.

“Sadako’s story has touched the lives of many – she was only two when the Hiroshima bomb was dropped and nine years later she was diagnosed with leukemia,” Sarah said.

“Sadako’s story has been commemorated through a statue of herself holding a golden crane with a plaque which reads, This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world.”

Katharine said there are things we can learn from the past.

“No one could predict that the bomb would cause such devastation,” she said.

“When we hold such power, we automatically have the responsibility to learn how it affects people and how it can affect the world.”

Sarah argued it is not enough to just accept the past.

“We must also learn from these events if we are to stop anymore suffering,” Sarah said.

“During President Obama’s visit to Japan, he addressed the people saying, ‘We have a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history, and ask what we must do differently, to curb such suffering again’.”

Sarah and Katharine concluded nuclear warfare has done more harm than good and war is never justified.