On Tuesday, August 6, 2019, Hiroshima Day, the LEPOCO Peace Center held its annual observance for the anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan (August 6 and 9, 1945). The theme of the program was “Ban the Bomb: Making the United Nations Nuclear Weapons Treaty a Reality.” Lloyd Steffen, Professor of Religion Studies and University Chaplain at Lehigh University spoke. The program also featured music, readings, poetry, and time for reflection.
People gathered for the opening of the program at 6:00 pm, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley, 424 Center St., Bethlehem. Program participants proceeded with banners and drumming to the Tondabayashi Serenity Garden, on the west side of the Bethlehem Public Library, for the rest of the program. (The Garden was donated to the City of Bethlehem by Bethlehem’s Sister City in Japan – Tondabayashi. LEPOCO has held peace observances in the Serenity Garden since the late 1970s.)
The program focused on threats to life on earth in the nuclear age that began with the atomic bombings in 1945, and it brought attention to the hope brought by the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted in 2017, and awaiting the support of 50 state parties to go into effect. Monica McAghon and Susie Ravitz, both of Easton, facilitated the program. The LEPOCO Peace Singers sang “Just a Little Rain,” a Malvina Reynolds song arranged by Bob Riggs of Bethlehem, and “Higher Ground,” a traditional hymn, with lyrics by Charlie King and arranged by Chris Klump, also of Bethlehem, and a couple of other songs from their collection.
For more information contact the LEPOCO Peace Center, 313 West Fourth Street, south Bethlehem, 610-691-8730 or www.lepoco.org.