This has been a very soulful commemoration of this 59th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima . We have heard beautiful and haunting music, poetry and reflections as well as the sweet sounds of small birds in the oak trees that surround us and provide a canopy above us.

This garden, Sadako Peace Garden , was created nine years ago and dedicated on the fiftieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima , on August 6, 1995 , and each year since we have met in this garden on August 6 th to commemorate this important anniversary. This garden is dedicated to all who work for peace and a world free of nuclear weapons.

As we reflect today, I believe that two critical questions of our time deserve our attention: What have we learned from Hiroshima that will help us prevent future Hiroshimas? And, what are we willing to do about what we have learned?

If we have learned nothing from Hiroshima , as it sometimes seems, we are destined to have a tragic future. But even if we have learned that the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki must never be repeated, we still face a tragic future if we are not willing to act upon this understanding. It seems to me certain that in the Nuclear Age, ignorance and apathy will be our undoing. We cannot allow them to become the accomplices of nuclear weapons.

That is why education about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and advocacy for eliminating nuclear weapons are so critical to our common future, and why organizations like the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation are so important to building a more secure future.

I want to share with you a poem that I received today by a poet in Tucson, Arizona, Karma Tenzing Wangchuk:

Hiroshima Day –
in my heart, I release
a thousand cranes

I hope that today we can all release a thousand cranes in our hearts and in our world. We are powerful beyond our imaginations, and the power of a thousand cranes released in many human hearts can change our world.