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Peace and Disarmament

Back to listNov 19, 2011

Hiroshima Survivor Speaks on Peace in Oregon

Dr. Hideko Tamura SniderHiroshima atomic bomb survivor Dr. Hideko Tamura Snider delivers a message of hope and peace to participants

On November 19, Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor Dr. Hideko Tamura Snider shared her experience and convictions with participants at the SGI-USA Oregon Center in Lake Oswego, Oregon, as part of an event showing SGI's anti-nuclear weapons exhibition "Transforming the Human Spirit: From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace."

The Oregon Chapter of the nonprofit group Physicians for Social Responsibility cosponsored the exhibition, which presents the core issues of human security and nuclear disarmament in an accessible way, highlighting the hopeful role citizens around the world can play in promoting peace.

During her talk, Dr. Snider recalled struggling to climb out from under the wreckage of her collapsed home after the attack on Hiroshima and how she was devastated to learn of the deaths of many loved ones, including her mother and cousin. She was just 11 at the time.

Recovering from the trauma was extremely difficult, she said, but as she supported others, her happiness returned. "If I couldn't feel joy for myself, I felt 100, 200 percent joy in helping others to heal and move forward," said Dr. Snider, a retired therapist and consultant, and the author of One Sunny Day: A Child's Memories of Hiroshima.

Through experiencing the care and kindness of missionary teachers and aid workers, Dr. Snider said she learned that grief and trauma can lead to a transformative experience.

In 2006, Dr. Snider visited Japan with the Rogue Valley Peace Choir from Oregon to observe the 61st anniversary of the atomic bombings and promote collective healing. A year later, she established the organization One Sunny Day Initiatives, which promotes peace and nuclear nonproliferation based on humanism and compassion.

Dr. Snider stressed the importance of heart-to-heart dialogue. "Know what you espouse," she said. "Be educated, so that you can explain your beliefs to others." And when faced with overcoming obstacles, she said, "Plant your feet squarely in the middle of the dread, look it right in the eye, and the life in you will find a way."

[Adapted from a report from the January 13, 2012, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA; photo courtesy of Gae Ryan]