HIROSHIMA, Japan – Saying he was on a "mission to ignite peace," guitar legend Carlos Santana (search) played before a sold-out crowd at a concert Tuesday to mark the 60th anniversary of the world's first atomic bomb attack.
The concert was one of dozens of events this city is holding ahead of the memorial ceremony on Saturday. About 50,000 people, including Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (search), are expected to gather in Peace Memorial Park for Saturday's anniversary.
"It is an honor to be here and to be of service with our music," Santana told the "Emissaries for Peace" concert crowd of about 2,000. "We want to give birth to a world with peace in our lifetime."
Santana, joined by jazz greats Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, visited Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park earlier in the day. Last week, the trio played a similar concert in Nagasaki, which was devastated by an atomic bomb three days after the attack on Hiroshima.
About 200,000 people were killed in the blasts. On Aug. 15, 1945, the emperor of Japan announced that Allied conditions for surrender would be accepted. World War II came to a close on Sept. 2, when the Japanese formally surrendered on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.