2011年10月07日

36 America 4-1

World Peace Mission

The World Peace Mission, sponsored by the Chugoku Shinbun Newspaper and the Hiroshima International Cultural Foundation, was sent to various places in the world, starting with South Africa in May, 2004. In the middle of April, 2005, I was asked to substitute for one of the America team members who suddenly fell ill and told to join the team in Columbus, Ohio. There was no time to vacillate. I consulted with my daughter. “America is the strongest nuclear power. If your physical condition permits, it may be worth going,” she said. So I made up my mind.

On April 15, I left Narita Airport feeling slightly nervous, although I didn’t care about traveling alone. After 12 hours’ flight, I arrived at O’Hare International Airport, Chicago. It was my first visit in seven years. I knew the security check had become strict ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but I felt I had enough—fingerprints taken, photo taken and immigration papers required to fill in in detail. I somehow managed to do it all by myself and arrived in Columbus.

Waiting at the hotel for two days, I finally joined the team that had already been in the U.S. Then, since the teamwork was already established, I found little room left for me among the members.

On May 18, we headed for Wilmington College in Ohio, established by Quakers. I had been there in September, 1998, sent by the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, so I was rather relaxed for the first mission task.

First, we visited the Peace Resource Center affiliated with the College, where I saw James Boland, a tall gentleman. “Hi, aren’t you Keiko? What a surprise!” He hugged me, lowering himself. More surprised were our mission members. James went to get my picture in kimono. Everybody’s eyes focused on us. That moment, I felt I became part of the World Peace Mission team.

The Peace Resource Center was established in 1975 by Barbara Reynolds who had founded the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima. This Peace Resource Center has been highly recognized not only by the academic world but by people in general as well, since its collection of Hiroshima and Nagasaki materials are made available to anybody.

Barbara Reynolds traveled around the U.S. and Europe in 1964, taking A-bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as scholars, along with her. She thus became an initiator of the “world peace pilgrimage,” to have the facts of the A-bombing widely known to the world.

I heard something very intriguing from University President Daniel A. DiBiasio: A Quaker structure has separate entrances for men and for women, not because of discrimination but for liberty of women. I wonder if that means men admit themselves as selfish beings.

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Mr. James Boland (by the Chugoku Newspaper Co.)

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At Peace Resource Center (by the Chugoku Newspaper Co.)