Early Saturday 5 August, a sapling raised from seeds from a Ginkgo tree which survived the atomic bombing of Nagasaki was planted in Oak Bay at a parklet to the side of Athlone Court off Oak Bay avenue.
In describing the choice of location, Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jenson, a Mayor for Peace, said, “Planting them at a location where paths frequently cross in our daily activities will hopefully cause us to reflect on what peace means in our day-to-day lives.”
In attendance was the only foreign survivor of the Nagasaki bombing, Rudi Hoenson, a Dutch Prisoner of War who was being used as forced labour in the Mitsubishi shipyard in Nagasaki when the atomic bomb was dropped 1.4 kilometres away. Many other prisoners were killed instantly or died later. 94 year old Mr. Hoenson resides here in Victoria.
Mayor Jenson noted that he had visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki on a personal visit he made to Japan over 30 years ago. He visited the museum built at the site in Hiroshima and was overwhelmed by the display on the aftermath of the atomic bombing. He said, “At the museum they had a book for comments for visitors. How can one comment on such a horrendous tragedy? I wrote ‘We were all responsible.’ and today we are all responsible to make sure it never happens again.”
The Vancouver Island Peace & Disarmament Network was represented by Dr. Jonathan Down who spoke about the significance of public remembrances, thanked Mayor Jenson for being a model for other mayors in the CRD and invited everyone to attend the Nagasaki Day event in Gorge Park on the 9th August.