I dreamed the world had all agreed… to put an end to war

I dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war.  The lines are from Ed McCurdy’s song Last night I had the strangest dream.  Written in 1950, this classic anti-war song continues to inspire and give hope to those in the peace movement.  McCurdy was an American folk singer, songwriter, and television actor.

Yesterday, McCurdy’s song was sung again, on the Gorge waterway in Victoria, as part of a simple ceremony I attended; a ceremony held annually to remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan (August 6 and 9, 1945).

It was a lovely and moving ceremony, incorporating readings, personal stories, silent reflection, music, dance (by students from the Lester B. Pearson United World College on Youth Leadership), and finished with t?r? nagashi, the traditional Japanese lantern ceremony, in which participants offer prayers for the souls of the victims, in a ritual where small lanterns are lit and floated downstream to console the souls of the dead.  I took a few pictures.  Some I’ve posted here. The event was sponsored by the Raging Grannies (who began in 1987 in Victoria!), Victoria Peace Coalition, Physicians for Global Survival , and others.

While we remembered through our small local event, a larger ceremony was taking place in Hiroshima itself.  The U.S., Britain and France participated for the first time, in the annual commemoration of the A-bomb attack on Hiroshima.  With the U.S. ambassador John Roos in attendance, there is now optimism for an even greater symbolic visit to Hiroshima, by President Obama in November.

Today, I’m feeling both sad and optimistic.  This 65th anniversary of the Japan bombing is a reminder of why we need to work better together, find appropriate ways to resolve conflict, and strengthen communities, locally and internationally.

Further remembering

The best book I ever read about Hiroshima was John Hersey’s book Hiroshima, his journalistic masterpiece of what happened when the first atom bomb was dropped on a city, heralding a new era.  Hersey was a Pulitzer-prize winning American writer and journalist.  He wrote Hiroshima in 1946.  I cannot recommend this book enough.

And here’s the lyrics to Ed McCurdy’s song

Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream

Last night I had the strangest dream
I ever dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war

I dreamed I saw a mighty room
The room was filled with women and men
And the paper they were signing said
They’d never fight again

And when the papers all were signed
And a million copies made
They all joined hands and bowed their heads
And grateful prayers were prayed

And the people in the streets below
Were dancing round and round
And guns and swords and uniforms
Were scattered on the ground

Last night I had the strangest dream
I’d never dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war

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