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John Pastore's Message

Vic,

Thank you for the opportunity to send a message to be read at the dinner in DC starting the two year long celebration of the founding of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

I suppose that I am a rarity among the PSR membership, because I came to the national organization some time after having been recruited to be one of the first Board members of IPPNW!  From the first, I was welcomed into PSR by its very experienced leadership in those heady days in the early 1980's, and I got to learn the rich history of PSR from Vic Sidel, Jack Geiger, Sid Alexander, and many other stalwarts in the national organization. We certainly could not have gotten the cooperation of the physicians from the then Soviet Union if it weren't for those powerful American voices for nuclear weapons abolition. Together with them, our small band of IPPNW leaders -- Bernard Lown, Jim Muller, Eric Chivian, Herb Abrams, David Greer, and I -- felt that we could take on anything -- including the daunting task of ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

John Kennedy famously spoke of "the torch {having passed} to a new generation", but it seems to me that what is needed now is that we share the torch with a new generation of young physicians and medical students. What would be most powerful is the combination of historic memory and experience that many of us older physician activists have with the youthful exuberance and idealism of this new generation of physicians.

One need look no farther than the front pages of today's newspapers to recognize that the warnings we in PSR have given for decades about the production of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons need reinforcement by a new membership of youthful physicians. While celebrating the glorious past of PSR, we should also focus on the vision of what is to come, when finally we will have achieved with physicians of all ages what has always been our goal, a world without nuclear weapons. 

John Pastore, MD
PSR President, 2005
IPPNW former Executive Secretary

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