This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To mourn the victims, a memorial was held at Tjörnin on the 9th of August. People gathered, listened to speeches and lit candles, as they have done in Reykjavík for the last twenty years in a row.
Over the years the gathering has become more than a memorial, says Steinunn Þóra Árnadóttir, one of the organizers. “By buying a candle and letting it float on the water, people make a personal statement, saying: I am against war.”
For the first time, this year there was a meeting at City Hall before the memorial. Two speeches were made. Monika Braw from Sweden told people about the research she did on Japanese survivors of the bombings, and Dr. Guðmundur Georgsson spoke about his visit to Hiroshima, twenty years ago.
Árnadóttir was not surprised so many young people came: “The younger generation has grown up with the wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and now Iraq. They know peace is not something that can be taken for granted. They have been protesting too, a lot of them are pacifists. They see the tension in the world and find the new, small nuclear weapons really frightening.”
One of the other organizers, Ingibjörg Haraldsdóttir, made quite a statement in her speech. She made the connection between the past and the present, referring to the glorification of war in the Clint Eastwood movie that is now being filmed in Iceland.
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