“Dear friends, people of peace. We gather to remember the horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the horror of war and violence, and to rededicate ourselves to a peace sustained by justice.”

So spoke the Rev. Alden Besse to begin the Martha’s Vineyard Peace Council’s 34th consecutive remembrance of the explosion of the atomic bomb that would bring an end to the Second World War.

A group of 13 gathered Saturday morning at 6 a.m., intending to remember this momentous occasion of suffering with the sunrise. Unfortunately, the day had stubbornly dawned gray, and no sun peeked through the clouds, as the winds whistled every which way around the lighthouse.

The ceremony began with the singing of Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream, an antiwar classic from 1950 popularized by Simon and Garfunkel. Standing in a circle, they then recounted to the group all what each one does for peace, and how much work needs to be done in order to achieve the dream of peace, a dream that eternally has eluded mankind.

They spoke of the uselessness of deterrence, the need to find creative solutions to conflict, and their belief in the general fallibility of American foreign policy. “From a legal point of view,” said Peter Weiss, “there is no way that nuclear weapons can be considered legal, or their use ever justifiable.”

To show that there was hope for the abolishment of nuclear weapons based on their illegality, he passed out the Vancouver Declaration, written at a conference earlier this year.

The most stirring moment came when Reverend Besse read aloud quotations from several of America’s most decorated generals, each of them denouncing the brutality of war, the human capacity for violence and destruction.

He quoted President Dwight D. Eisenhower, calling him “perhaps our greatest general,” from his speech, The Chance for Peace:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

“This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

Closing with passionate renditions of Ain’t Gonna Study War No More and Amazing Grace the group parted ways, promising to meet again in the quest for peace.

Their next event, a concert for peace and justice, is at 7 p.m. at the parish house of Grace Church on Tuesday, August 16.