News Release

9/11 Families on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Anniversaries


August 6 and 9 will be the 60th anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The following members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows have been visiting Japan.

LeBlanc lost her husband, Robert LeBlanc, Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of New Hampshire, on United Airlines Flt. 175. Today she said: “The Hibakusha and other Japanese people were the first to extend the hand of compassion to those of us who chose not to seek vengeance for the lives of our loved ones after September 11th. A very special bond of understanding has developed among us.”

LeBlanc is coordinator of “Stonewalk,” where 9/11 family members — along with atomic bomb survivors [Hibakusha] — have been pulling a granite memorial “to the unknown civilians killed in war” from Nagasaki to Hiroshima. She will be addressing the World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs in Hiroshima, where she will read an apology that begins as follows: “We Americans today apologize for the atrocities of Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, committed against the civilians of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. … We grieve for all victims of war and violence inflicted by nations upon nations, individuals upon individuals, and societies upon societies.”
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Their oldest son, Bobby McIlvaine, had just been hired by Merrill Lynch as Assistant Vice President of Media Relations when he was killed at the World Trade Center at age 26. Today, Bob McIlvaine said: “The loss of our son Bobby on 9/11 has been indescribably painful. Joining in ‘Stonewalk’ has given me the only true moments of peace I’ve experienced since he was killed. My wife Helen and I are honored to walk with the Hibakusha and all those dedicated to finding and creating a more just world.” The McIlvaines reside in Oreland, in the Philadelphia suburbs.

A professor of music and educational technology, Bodley lost his 20-year-old daughter, Deora, on Flt. 93, which crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 11, 2001. He has just returned to the U.S. from Japan after participating in Stonewalk. [He will be in D.C. on Aug. 2.] Bodley said today: “My wish, along with all other Peaceful Tomorrows participants, is that … the stone will find a home in Japan that will place it near to the Hiroshima Peace Park, where it can be seen as a 21st century testament to the truth of all the 20th century expressions of peace that are found there in Hiroshima. The world deserves to know and remember this, not the horrors of the wars that are perpetrated today through lies and deceit and because of lust for power and greed.”

A song Bodley wrote and dedicated to his daughter Deora Bodley will be sung in the closing ceremony of Peaceful Tomorrows’ Stonewalk Japan 2005. “Deora — Steps to Peace (Each to Give)” will be sung in a Japanese version which was translated and recorded by one of Bodley’s students in America who is from Japan, Ms. Aiko Hamaguchi.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167