150+ Canadians Day 142: Setsuko Thurlow

Image: ICANW International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Setsuko Thurlow contributes to peace by speaking out against nuclear war. #Canada150

Setsuko Nakamura, now Setsuko Thurlow, was a 13-year-old schoolgirl on August 6, 1945 when a United States airplane dropped a nuclear bomb on her hometown, Hiroshima, Japan. She was buried in rubble, managed to get free, and walked away from the city seeing the injuries, suffering, death, and destruction caused by the bombing. 140,000 people died. She was lucky to be reunited with her family, who also survived.

She eventually moved to the United States to study, married a Canadian, and became a Canadian citizen. Thurlow worked as a social worker with various agencies in Toronto, and then established the Japanese Family Services of Metropolitan Toronto.

Associated with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Advisory Council, Thurlow continues to write and speak about her experience surviving the nuclear bomb, the subsequent shunning by Japanese society, and the repressing of free speech by the American administration after the war. She is a powerful advocate for a nuclear weapons-free world.

“The truth is, we all live with the daily threat of nuclear weapons. In every silo, on every submarine, in the bomb bays of airplanes, every second of every day, nuclear weapons, thousands on high alert, are poised for deployment threatening everyone we love and everything we hold dear.”

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