Cover Story: Life arising from ashes of WWII 70 years ago


What’s your emotion?
Sadness. Anger. Pride. Love. Fear. Perhaps a fresh commitment to peace. All of these are jumbled in the 70th anniversary of World War II’s end. At ReadTheSpirit, our writers are bringing you stories focused on lives transformed and signs of hope as we reach this global milestone. We urge you to share these stories with friends to spark healthy discussion.

Start your reading with our two stories about anniversaries. First, we report on the way the atomic bombings have been remembered by Americans—first in the decade after the war under U.S. censorship, then once honest reports on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were allowed to circle the world. That story ends with tips on finding local events remembering Hiroshima.

Then, The Kiss—We report on the many emotions that pull at families around the world as they remember WWII’s end. The power of that emotion was captured in the famous photograph The Kiss. Suzy Farbman writes about the man widely believed to be the actual kisser that day.

INSIDE HANNAH’S SUITCASEReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm reviews a documentary that tells the remarkable story of Japanese children wanting to learn about the war and contribute to world peace—who eventually reach out to a family half way around the world still scarred by the Holocaust.

FRIENDSHIP & FAITH—One of the most inspiring stories we’re sharing comes from the Friendship & Faith collection of real-life stories about women who found the simple act of making friends could transform their lives. This true story by Dr. Motoko Huthwaite, called Views from the Enemy Camps, tells how she found herself as a girl living in both the U.S. and Japan during World War II.


OUR VALUESFor this anniversary week, OurValues creator Wayne Baker welcomes a special 5-part series by international peace activist Daniel Buttry on many ways lives were transformed—and new commitments to life were made—from among the ashes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In Part 1, Buttry tells the story of a little girl who inspired people around the world to make and share thousands of paper peace cranes.

INTERFAITH PEACEMAKERS—You’ll also be inspired by the more than 100 profiles of men and women who dared to make peace at and then this week, Daniel Buttry has added to this website a collection of music videos from several post-war periods that reflect on the atomic bombings—and include inspiring images of peace memorials. The first music video especially illustrates some of the colorful installations in Hiroshima’s Peace Park.


1,200 is a treasure trove of movie reviews.

NEW ISSUE of THE JOURNAL—Veteran faith-and-film writer Ed McNulty freely distributes movie reviews to readers around the world. He supports his work by selling his monthly Visual Parables Journal, which is packed with detailed study-guides for individual reflection or small-group discussions. The new issue includes guides to such popular films as Mr. Holmes, Minions and Testament of Youth.

FAITH GOES POP—The creative mind of columnist Ken Chitwood serves up a mixed bag of religion sightings.



Don’t miss a holiday! Tell friends about our master calendar of festivals, observances and milestones.

OBON—The colorful festival with Buddhist roots, mingled with Japanese-Shinto traditions, reaches its crescendo in early August in many communities, including the festive Bon Odori dance. And, this Obon story also has a news item about the American WWII veterans going to Japan on a peace pilgrimage to return sacred family flags of fallen Japanese soldiers.

WWII ANNIVERSARIES—As mentioned above, we report this week on worldwide memories of the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima’s bombing and the end of WWII.

HONOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES—Since 1994, the United Nations has been urging countries around the world to learn about the diverse cultures of the world’s ancient communities. Stephanie Fenton reports on the growing significance of this annual observance.

TASTY BOUNTY OF SUMMER—FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis is serving up some terrific food columns (and recipes) this summer. This week, she’s got a recipe for berry bread pudding that she promises is “the greatest thing since sliced bread”—so Bobbie also tells the story behind Americans’ custom of sliced bread. If you’ve been out gardening this summer and missed it, readers are raving about her recent columns (and their accompanying recipes) so check out Just for the Kale of It and don’t miss Dishes Pop with Paprika.



One of our guiding principles: Good media builds good community. What does that mean? Enjoy these stories …

SUZY FARBMAN—Sometimes, one family can make a big difference in the world. This week, GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman writes about Paul and Patti Hreskos and their quest to help improve the foster-care system for children. (If you’re traveling this summer and missed it—last week Suzy wrote about the life and career of ballet star Misty Copeland.)

BOB ALPER—The author of Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This will perform close to his Vermont home on August 5 at the Manchester Community Library. Then, Bob heads to Israel for a three-date tour in his “Laugh in Peace” series. He will perform with his Arab-Muslim comedy colleague Ahmed Ahmed in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa from August 15-17.

KEN WILSON—Ken Wilson and his creative team at the Third Way Newsletter are opening doors at evangelical congregations coast to coast.

DR. DAVID GUSHEE—The author of Changing Our Mind also is one of the regularly featured writers at Religion News Service (RNS). Now, he’s traveling in New Zealand to serve as visiting scholar for Victoria University in Wellington—with lectures also in Christchurch, Dunedin, and Auckland. You can follow Dr. Gushee’s trip via Facebook at:






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