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Peace lantern ceremony gets final visit from Mayor Brede

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Lanterns float away into the darkness on the east side of Silver Lake in 2013. This annual peace lantern floating ceremony serves as a remembrance of the anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

Dozens of handmade paper lanterns will float across Silver Lake on Monday as community members gather for an annual remembrance of nuclear destruction.

Rochester’s annual Peace Lantern Floating Ceremony has been held every year since 1985. Roughly 150 participants attend to remember and acknowledge the anniversary of the events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

But what some don’t know is that behind each ceremony is a team of nearly a dozen Rochester women who come together in support of complete nuclear disarmament.

"Our goal is abolishing all nuclear weapons in the world," said Junko Maruta, of Rochester, who has helped organize the event since 1995.

Although each may have a slightly different reason for speaking out against nuclear action, the women all agree that the need to remember to devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is as vital as it was 73 years ago.

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"It always seems every year that the message we’re putting out gets more relevant year after year," said fellow organizer Kathy Donahoe.

Donahoe is also a member of the Omni Drummers, who will be providing music to accompany the lantern launch.

This year’s ceremony will be held Monday at the east picnic shelter at Silver Lake Park.

Individuals will gather at 6:30 p.m. to make lanterns and Japanese folded peace cranes with kits provided. The lanterns will be released on the lake around 7:20 p.m., following a speech by Mayor Ardell Brede.

Brede has spoken during Rochester’s annual peace lantern floating ceremony for 14 years, only missing it twice since becoming mayor in 2013. Although the ceremony usually hosts two speakers, organizers have chosen to focus on Brede since this will be his final official visit, Maruto said.

"It’s been a blessing to have him as part of the peace lantern float," Donahoe said.

The lantern float is free to attend and open to guests of all ages. In case of rain, it will move to Peace United Church of Christ.

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What:Peace Lantern Floating Ceremony

When: 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 6

Where: East picnic shelter, Silver Lake Park, 705 E Silver Lake Dr., Rochester

Cost: Free

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