Jill Biden says ‘history’ of atomic bomb should be taught
First lady Jill Biden told an audience in Hiroshima that ‘we must teach this history’ after touring the atomic bomb site Friday as part of the G7 summit.
She was speaking in front of private and public university students at the Next Generations’ Symposium early Friday evening, which was attended by the summit’s spouses, after earlier visiting Hiroshima’s Peace Park and Memorial Museum.
Dr. Biden didn’t show up with Japan’s Yuko Kishida, the United Kingdom’s Akshata Murty and Germany’s Britta Ernst, arriving with granddaughter Maisy 10 minutes later.
The program had to be briefly paused, as the audience awaited the Americans’ arrival.
‘Today we gather just a few steps away from the monument that memorializes part of the deadliest war yet known to mankind,’ she said when it was her turn to speak. ‘We must teach this history, so that we can understand the choices in front of us.’
First lady Jill Biden (second from left) participated in a wreath-laying ceremony alongside (from left) wife of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Akshata Murty, wife of Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Yuko Kishida, wife of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Britta Ernst and husband of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Heiko von der Leyen
Dr. Jill Biden (right) delivered remarks to students at the Next Generations’ Symposium early Friday evening, which she attended with the G7 summit spouses. Yuko Kishida (left, in blue) also spoke
‘Choose creation over destruction, innovation over inhumanity, peace over bloodshed, democracy over autocracy,’ she continued.
She told the young people that they are ‘the builders of democracy.’
And she praised the next generation for ‘leading movements for change’ including ‘working for climate justice.’
Earlier, the Japanese-American singer-songwriter Ai had worked with the students to learn the English words of the song Lean on Me, which was to be performed for the spouses after reporters departed the room.
They were also given a history lesson about how the US dropped the atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to bring a rapid conclusion to World War II.
EarlierDr. Biden joined President Joe Biden for a tour of Hiroshima’s Peace Park and Memorial Museum with other G7 leaders and the spouses who made the trip.
‘We’ll figure it out,’ Dr. Biden said laughing when the president couldn’t figure out which mark to stand on when he did a photo-op with the Kishidas.
First lady Jill Biden (right) walked to a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima on Friday. She was joined by (from left) wife of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Akshata Murty, husband of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Heiko von der Leyen, wife of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Britta Ernst, wife of Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Yuko Kishida
This handout photo shows Dr. Jill Biden (right) participating in a tea ceremony with (from left) Japan’s Yuko Kishida and the United Kingdom’s Akshata Murty
The spouses took their own photo participating in a wreath-laying at the Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims.
The only surviving downtown structure from the 1945 bombing—now the Peace Memorial—could be seen in the background.
Afterwards the spouses had tea, while the leaders were in a working lunch and meeting on the war in Ukraine.
Dr. Biden will also participate in a Joining Forces event while in Japan.
She’ll travel to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni on Sunday and address the graduating seniors at MC Perry High School, a Department of Defense Education Activity school.
She made similar remarks to students in Naples when she peeled off from the president in November 2021, when Biden was attending the G20 in Rome.
The first lady previously traveled to Japan to lead the US’s delegation at the Tokyo summer Olympics, which happened in 2021 and not 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Biden was one of only a few dignitaries at the opening ceremony, which she watched alongside French President Emmanuel Macron.