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Oak Ridge to host Day of Peace and Remembrance 77 years after atomic bombings of Japan

On Saturday, the National Park Service will host a sunrise ceremony in Oak Ridge at the International Friendship Bell in A.K. Bissell Park.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — The Manhattan Project National Historical Park will host a peace ceremony in Oak Ridge on Saturday in remembrance of the atomic bombings of Japan.

On August 6 starting at 6:47 a.m., the National Park Service will host a sunrise ceremony in Oak Ridge at the International Friendship Bell and Peace Pavillion in A.K. Bissell Park to commemorate 77 years since the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.

The ceremony will feature music from an Oak Ridge Civic Music Association quartet and allow for quiet, somber reflection. People are invited to ring the bell "for any reason that speaks to them." 

An hour before dawn, park rangers will light luminarias decorated with messages of peace by community members. People who cannot attend can visit the National Park Service's website at this link for a virtual bell ringing from August 6 to August 9.

The International Friendship Bell and Peace Pavilion were dedicated more than 25 years ago to symbolize "the strides for peace and reconciliation between Japan and the United States," according to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.

August 6, 1945, is a day that is not forgotten in Tennessee because of the historic role Oak Ridge played in the atomic bomb's development. It's a moment that changed the course of human history, and it's a decision that's still being debated across the world.

The "Secret City" was one of three key sites involved in the Manhattan Project. Oak Ridge facilities were in charge of enriching uranium under absolute secrecy as a hidden factory in Hanford, Wash. made the plutonium. The two sites sent materials to a lab in Los Alamos, N.M., which built the world's first atomic weapons.

August 6 and 9 mark 77 years since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. More than 129,000 -- perhaps as many as 226,000 -- people died in the blasts. Most were civilians. The United States is the only nation to use such weapons in a war.

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