Pope Francis puts out the "nuclear fire" lit in 1945 from Hiroshima ashes

The pontiff performed the deed before a delegation of peace activists that presented him with the fire, kept in a small lamp. After the atomic explosion in 1945, Tatsuo Yamamoto brought back embers to Yame.

Vatican City (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Pope Francis put out a flame born from the ashes of atomic-bombed Hiroshima during Wednesday’s general audience in the presence of a group of peace advocates to symbolise hope for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The group, which brought the fire kept in a small lamp to the pontiff, included Setsuko Thurlow, 87, a Canadian who survived the atomic bombing. As a member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.

Thurlow asked the pope to permanently extinguish the flame of the “nuclear fire”, this according to an official with Earth Caravan, a Kyoto-based non-profit association that organised the audience with the Holy Father.

Earth Caravan lit the fire from the “flame of peace”, which is kept in the Hoshinomura district in Yame, Fukuoka Prefecture, the hometown of the late Tatsuo Yamamoto.

Yamamoto searched for his uncle in Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was detonated on 6 August 1945. He never found his uncle’s body but brought back embers from the ruins to Yame.

Yusa Okada, a first-year junior high student and granddaughter of a hibakusha in Nagasaki, gave the pope “orizuru” paper cranes.