Members of Congress are applauding the announcement that President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima later this month.
"I strongly support President Obama’s decision to become the first sitting American president to visit Hiroshima, Japan," U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) said in a statement Tuesday. "The bombing of Hiroshima is perhaps the world’s most poignant reminder of the complexities of war and the unequaled destruction caused by nuclear weapons. Given the mounting challenges to global peace and security, this is an important opportunity to reflect on the consequences of war and remind the world of what is at stake."
Last month, Takano published an open letter to the president, urging him to visit the Hiroshima Peace Park Memorial when the president travels to Japan for the G-7 Summit.
"Every leader who has the capacity to order the use of atomic weapons should have that same experience and feel that same connection," Takano wrote in his letter.
Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), tweeted on Tuesday following the announcement: "I want to thank @POTUS for confronting history & @RepMarkTakano for leadership to make this historic visit happen."
Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), also a member of CAPAC, and Charlie Rangel (D-NY) also tweetedtheir praise for Obama's announcement.
"We must recommit to choosing peace over war - starting with nuclear disarmament," Lee wrote.
Obama's visit will be the first visit by a sitting U.S. president to the memorial in Hiroshima. Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry became the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the site, writing in the memorial guestbook after his visit, "Everyone in the world should see and feel the power of this memorial."
An estimated 140,000 people died on August 6, 1945, after the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Last year, survivor Reiko Yamada told NBC News it was important for the world to hear the stories of what happened in Hiroshima and three days later in Nagasaki.
"I don't want people to repeat this mistake," Yamada said. "The only anger I have is against nuclear weapons."