SALEM – Aug. 6 marks the 75th anniversary of the atom bombing of Hiroshima, followed in a few weeks by the 75th anniversary of the close of World War II.
The Oregon Department of Forestry has launched a new online map where people can find the location of 45 Oregon peace trees grown from the seed of Hiroshima trees that survived the atom bomb.
Klamath Falls is one of 30 towns and cities across the state that received the trees and which are pinpointed on the new map.
The new site tells the story of how the trees came to be in Oregon, which now has one of the largest plantings of Hiroshima-origin peace trees outside of Japan. View the new site at https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/ForestBenefits/Pages/Hiroshima-peace-trees.aspx
From Hiroshima to Oregon
Hiroshima survivor Hideko Tamura-Snider, co-founder of the Medford-based peace group One Sunny Day Initiatives, launched the effort to bring peace trees to her adopted state.
Green Legacy Hiroshima collects the seeds from trees known to have survived the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. After the seeds arrived in 2017, they were germinated and potted up.
Kristin Ramstad in the Oregon Department of Forestry worked to find permanent homes for the trees.
“We had a gratifying response from all parts of the state — the coast to eastern Oregon, and from the Columbia Gorge to near the California border,” said Ramstad, who manages ODF’s Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program. “About three dozen entities, including schools and colleges, churches, cemeteries, parks and arboretums, were eager to obtain the trees and received them at no cost.”
Symbols of resilience, hope and peace
Gersbach said the project is a reminder that beyond the environmental benefits trees provides in cities, they also can bring a community together.
“We are again in a time of widespread loss of life and uncertainty due to the novel corona virus,” he said. “These seedlings’ parents leafed out from scorched trunks in the months following the atom bomb, giving hope to the bereaved survivors in Hiroshima. Their progeny serve as hopeful symbols in our current pandemic of the resilience of life.”
After learning how many communities embraced the Hiroshima seedlings, Tamura-Snider wrote that the numerous plantings “filled me with joy, remembering the long journey for both the tree[s] and myself. Thank you, people of Oregon, for your enduring faith in the future, in the resilience of life.”