Torch-bearers parade from Urakami Cathedral to the Peace Park in Nagasaki on Aug. 9 together with the “Bombed Mary” statue. (Video taken by Azumi Fukuoka)

NAGASAKI--The "Bombed Mary" statue was held aloft in a torch parade here on the evening of Aug. 9 to mark the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing that destroyed this storied city.

More than 1,000 torch-bearers, mainly Roman Catholics, walked the 800 meters from Urakami Cathedral, located near ground zero, to the Peace Park, and offered prayers to those who died in World War II, including the A-bomb victims.

The head portion of a Virgin Mary statue, which was mostly destroyed in the bombing and is now kept in the cathedral, was also carried in the parade.

The head, now called “Bombed Mary,” was found in the rubble after the end of the war and has since become a symbol of peace and hope.

“This (parade) is a special festival in which we convey torches of peace while offering prayers,” said sister Megumi Ichise, 25.