Community members lit up the lagoon as they continue to hope for peace.
The 15th annual Lanterns for Peace ceremony was held Saturday night at Maffeo Sutton Park’s Swy-a-lana Lagoon.
The date commemorates the first use of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.
“We don’t ever want that to happen again,” said Dyane Brown of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, organizers of the lantern ceremony. “We’re a peace group and we want to bring it to people’s attention that we have to be vigilant.”
About 75 people gathered for Saturday’s ceremony. Brown said every year, international students from Japan attend.
“Last year they were in tears, phoning their families and saying, ‘Guess what they’re doing in Nanaimo? They haven’t forgotten,’” said Brown.
Sheila Malcolmson, NDP MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, said the United Nations is on the verge of debating an international convention to ban nuclear weapons.
“And we cannot let our federal government lose its nerve,” she said. “I urge you to impress upon this impressionable, good-willed prime minister that we have that this is a mark that he and his government could bring to make Canada proud. To stand up on the international stage and to say things that all of us in the peace movement would be proud to hear.”
Leonard Krog, NDP MLA for Nanaimo, said the threat of nuclear war is never gone until the weapons are gone.
“The concept that we should so behave in a way that we would put at risk the very planet and everyone who lives on it and all the creatures of the world, with weapons, is something we need to think about,” he said.
The ceremony also included musical performances and at nightfall, 35 paper lanterns were floated around the lagoon.