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AP Daily News Headlines:IM - Jul 18, 2005


Asian-American Village Daily News

Japanese monks trek across West to NM remember nuclear bombings

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)

A lantern containing a remnant of the fire from a nuclear attack that destroyed Hiroshima is on its way to New Mexico, the birthplace of atomic weapons.

Buddhist monks will carry the lantern -- by foot -- south and west during the next three weeks, passing through California, Arizona and part of New Mexico. Their goal is Trinity Site at White Sands Missile Range, where the world's first nuclear weapon was detonated on July 16, 1945.

"I'm comforted in knowing someone would walk more than 1,000 miles to make a statement for world peace," said Mark Weiss, 41, who attended a welcome ceremony in Palo Alto on Sunday.

The Japanese monks, dressed in robes and rope sandals, set out from San Francisco on Saturday, the 60th anniversary of the test. They plan to reach the test site area on Aug. 9, the anniversary of the day the atomic bomb called "Fat Man" detonated over Nagasaki.

A representative of the monks has made a request to the restricted missile range for permission to enter that day. The request is going through channels, said Debbie Bingham, a spokeswoman for White Sands.

"In the eastern calendar, 60 is the end of a cycle," said the Rev. Keishi Miyamoto, one of the monks. "I would like to bring the flame back to the place it came from and extinguish it in the hope that there won't be another use of nuclear weapons ever again."

The "atomic flame" is a vivid reminder of the day a U.S. bomber dropped the "Little Boy" nuclear bomb on the Japanese city. More than 200,000 Japanese died in the bombing, and thousands died later of radiation illnesses.
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