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A Plea for Peace on the Memorial of the Nagasaki Bombing

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August 9, 1945 -- Just three days after an atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, wiping out 90 percent of the city and immediately killing 80,000 people, a second nuclear explosion devastated an estimated 40,000 people 186 miles away, in the city of Nagasaki.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017, the force from the atomic bomb in Japan can still be felt in the hearts of many Southern Tier residents. For one local church, today is day of remembrance, in the hopes that what happened over 70 years ago will not be soon repeated.

In the courtyard of the St. Francis of Assisi Church, Binghamton, a prayer service was held for all of those affected by the violence of war. Holding the mantra of 'War No More' at the center of their meeting, many residents came together to pray for humanity's forgiveness of years of violent endings.

"We need to abolish all weapons of mass destruction. We need to repent and feel what happened...we need to rejoin humanity," said Jim Clune, service attendee.

No matter where Americans turn, according to the service leaders, they are bombarded by national leaders shouting threats of violence against one another. North Korea is currently declaring that an attack against Guam is imminent, President of the United States, Donald Trump, has sworn repercussions of 'fire and fury' in the wake of Korea's threats; violence portrayed in the media continues to add fuel to the fire of present day hate, but recalling our nation's past, says Father Tim Taugher of St. Francis, is the best way to prevent a future of darkness.

"We saw [violence] happen before. It was wrong, wrong, wrong! Today is more dangerous, we need solutions that are long lasting, than something temporary as violence," said Tim Taugher, Father of St. Francis of Assisi Church.

But remembering history, says Helena Garan, Johnson City resident (originally from Netherlands), is not enough... people must ask for forgiveness. Helena once visited the monuments dedicated to the fallen men and women in Japan, where a massive cathedral once stood, and apologized for the loss of life. Not personally responsible for the actions of others, she still felt it was her duty to act in a manner that reflected her views on world dedicated to peace.

"When you visit those cities, the tears just keep streaming down your eyes. It took three decades to build this beautiful cathedral in Nagasaki, and three seconds to totally destroy it," said Helena Garan.

The service of peace ended with prayer and personal reflection. The men and women in attendance hugged each other and went their ways, promising to practice non-violent solutions like their religious faith had taught them. Hoping that by spreading this message of peace and love by recalling the past of violent endings, they plea to the world to join them in an effort to prevent the end of society, as proposed by one of the smartest people in history.

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” 
- Albert Einstein.