Hiroshima Southeast Sister Club
The Rotary International President for the Rotary Year 1982-1983 was Hiroji Mukasa, a Japanese national who selected as his Rotary theme for the year, "Mankind is One - Build Bridges of Friendship throughout the World."
The cities of Hiroshima, Japan and Honolulu, Hawaii had enjoyed a sister city affiliation since 1959. To proclaim and promote President Musaka's theme, the Mayor of Hiroshima, The Honorable Araki, suggested that it would be most appropriate for the Rotary Club of Hiroshima, Southeast, the Rotary Club that held their weekly meetings closest to the atomic bombed dome adjacent to the Peace Memorial Park, to enter into a sister club relationship with a Rotary Club located in the city of Honolulu. What better choice than the Rotary Club of Pearl Harbor, the Rotary club that held their weekly meetings closest to the Arizona Memorial - a relationship that would be symbolic of the beginning and the end of WW11 in the Pacific.
Sister Clubs Turn Scars of War Into Bonds of Peace
Numerous thousands, both American and Japanese, lost their lives as a result of this tragic chapter in the history of both nations. President Seiki Hirotani of the Hiroshima Southeast Rotary Club and President Robert Deibler of the Pearl Harbor Rotary Club had serious reservations regarding forming such a sister club affiliation, as several members of both clubs still carried the scars of that bitter war. The attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima still lingered in the minds of veterans from both cities.
It was under these circumstances that a contingent of Hiroshima Rotarians met with a group of Pearl Harbor Rotarians at President Deibler's home on the 26th day of September 1982. Fortunately, cooler heads and calmer views prevailed, and two former enemies agreed to unite in the true spirit and object of Rotary - to promote peace and world understanding through the fellowship of Rotary, and to build a "Rainbow Bridge of Friendship" between our two communities. Our sister club relationship started out rather gingerly at first, with the agreed to biennial visits being conducted in a formal and reserved manner. However, these initial exchange visits planted the seeds of Rotary fellowship, understanding, and a desire for world peace that have blossomed over the years into a flower of warmth and trusting friendship, all within an atmosphere of mutual respect and affection - a friendship that hopefully will last far into the future.
In serving our fellow man as Rotarians, we must never forget the suffering and devastation caused by misunderstandings that result in needless armed conflicts. To this end, our two clubs are dedicated to fully support the Object of Rotary - to promote peace and world understanding through the humanitarian and educational programs of The Rotary Foundation. As a reminder of this end, the high point of each sister club visit has been a solemn memorial observance at the Peace Park in Hiroshima or a solemn memorial observance on board the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, dependent upon the city visited. Hopefully, this tradition will be the glue that binds our two clubs together, and may the bridge of friendship we have built over the years be everlasting.