Recently, I had the chance to return to one of my favorite cities – Seattle.

Throughout the trip, that little voice repeatedly whispered, “Remember”. A lesson learned that applies to so many aspects of my life. Such as…

Remember that Seattle is the place where I was born – and will always be a home for me, no matter how far away I reside. A beautiful city with an amazing skyline, parks, and neighborhoods.

Remember the incredible people that live there – a few of whom I am lucky to call friends and family!

Remember the amazing food to be enjoyed there. This time we sampled two true gems, at Café Juanita and The Queen Bee Cafe. All I can say is, “If you are in the area… Remember to try these places!”

Remember there are so many cool things to do there… like taking your first ever glass-blowing class, and walking away with your own personally hand-crafted art!

Remember the wilderness that is so easily accessed, even on a day-trip basis – such as Mount Rainier. Any time of year, this sanctuary (BTW, it was the USA’s 5th National Park to be established) offers soul nourishing beauty. How can you pass up the chance to go to a place called “Paradise”?

I also heard my inner voice say, “Remember” – with September approaching, I naturally thought of that day 15 years ago, in New York and beyond, which we must always keep close in our hearts.

However, while I was there in Seattle, there was another type of ceremony going on at the Green Lake Park to remember a unique tragedy in history – one in which the USA also played a key role. The From Hiroshima to Hope event seeks to remember and honor the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII. Seattle’s Green Lake hosts the largest (outside of Japan) floating lantern ceremony commemorating these events and victims. Myriad attendees gather each year, bringing thousands of lit lanterns to float across Green Lake’s surface. From Hiroshima to Hope aims to connect communities through these floating beacons of hope, with the faith that we will Remember to resolve local and international conflicts peacefully and with grace.

So, it was during this quiet and peaceful congregation that I heard my inner voice yet again say, “Remember”… But this time, it was a more personal message. One that I thank a good friend of mine (Brian) for reminding me… “Ask yourself Why”. Why, am I taking photographs? Is it all just about Facebook and Instagram “Likes”. No, it is not! It is about using my passion for photography to accomplish something bigger than me – to communicate a story, to share beauty, to evoke emotions, and to bring about some sort of positive social change.

And so it is, with the above images, that I try to communicate the message with which I walked away from the quiet meditation of this From Hiroshima to Hope ceremony.

See the beauty of something that, on the surface, may seem trivial or simple – such as small hand-made wooden lanterns floating on water – and Remember that we can live our lives with compassion, and peacefully resolve future conflicts in our world. I hope that you will look at these images – and for a few minutes, consider the big message that this small ceremony shares.  I hope you can join me – to Remember.

8 Comments

  • Alan, I appreciate being able to experience the human condition both past and present, through your imagery. These amazingly beautiful images evoke many feelings, some questioning, some somber, some compassionate but all with a positive outlook and hopeful message. The first color image on the left reminds me of Proverbs18:24 There are companions ready to crush one another, But there is a friend sticking closer than a brother. The large groupings of lanterns calls to mind Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom you should give it, if its within your power to do so. You have given us so much, helping us to reflect, meditate and remember. Thank you and keep clicking!

  • I try to Remember every day that what I take for granted like running water electricity, indoor toilets, food on the table and in the frig are still a luxury and out of reach for so many people. I think by “remembering” we open our hearts to feeling “grateful”.

  • Alan – what a wonderful narrative and beautiful thoughtful images. These images not only cause me to pause and remember the utter beauty of life and the importance of reflective moments but also to remember the agony that humans have inflicted on each other and hope for a less ego-centric mind set and a greater compassionate and mindfull society.

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