The oldest grandson of President Harry Truman, who authorized the use of the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, will join two survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings at the Brooklyn Society of Ethical Culture on Wednesday, Oct. 17, from 8 to 9:30 p.m., and at the Brooklyn Friends School on Thursday, Oct. 18, from 1:50 to 3:10 p.m.Joining Clifton Truman Daniel will be Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor living in Toronto, and Yasuaki Yamashita, a Nagasaki survivor living in San Miguel Allende, Mexico.
The appearances are part of Hibakusha Stories, a project that began in 2008 when a Japanese peace initiative proposed bringing survivors (known as “hibakusha”) to New York City high schools to tell their stories. Since that time, Hibakusha Stories has organized 75 school visits in all five boroughs.
Clifton Truman Daniel is the honorary chairman of the Truman Library Institute in Independence, Missouri. He is the author of two books on his grandparents, “Growing Up With My Grandfather: Memories of Harry S. Truman” and “Dear Harry, Love Bess: Bess Truman's Letters to Harry Truman, 1919-1943.” He recently visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombings of those cities, laying wreaths to commemorate the dead.
Thurlow survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which occurred when she was 13. Having endured the loss of many of her family members and friends, she has been on the forefront of the movement to raise awareness of the atrocities that the use of nuclear weapons causes. After moving to Canada, she became concerned that Canadians had limited knowledge and interest about nuclear weapons, and therefore undertook to organize the Hiroshima Day commemoration that takes place in front of Toronto City Hall.
Yamashita was 6 years old when the A-bomb fell on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. He was at home with his mother and sister just 1.5 miles from ground zero. Their house was completely destroyed and his sister badly cut by broken glass. The next day his father was recruited to help clear debris from the center of the city and later died from his exposure to the radiation.
Yamashita moved to Mexico in 1968, where he worked as an artist and began speaking out publicly about his experiences.