Hiroshima - Nagasaki Never Again!
August 22, 2016
"I think that people want peace so much that one of these days, governments had better get out of the way and let them have it." – said President Dwight Eisenhower in 1959. In that spirit, people all over the United States expressed, in myriad ways, their support for abolishing all nuclear weapons on the 71st anniversaries of the bombing of Hiroshima (Aug 6) and Nagasaki (Aug 9). Just within the United States, PSR tracked at least 62 distinct commemoration events in 23 states between August 5 and August 9. Doubtless there were many more. At least 11 PSR chapters co-sponsored or participated in these events. Concurrently with all of this, PSR authors in 7 states published 10 op-eds and letters to the editor between August 4 and August 15 (see security news and views).
The timing was perfect for a visible outpouring of disarmament support in the United States, because:
1) The United Nations Open Ended Working Group voted to begin negotiations in 2017 on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, and the United Nations is poised to take up this discussion at the UN First Committee in October
2) control of the American “nuclear codes” has become a subject of discussion in the U.S. presidential election season
3) the White House has indicated that President Obama is considering executive actions he can take—before he leaves office—to reduce the nuclear threat.
In large and small towns, people turned out to express support for nuclear weapons abolition at events that included candlelight vigils, music, a "die-in," bike rides, prayer, art, floating lanterns, presentations by hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors), marches, a "peace flotilla" of kayaks and the ketch Golden Rule, a giant puppet theater, and even a marathon reading of John Hersey's "Hiroshima ." Within and beyond the United States, PSR's sister organization, Global Zero, organized Bike Around the Bomb events in 75 cities on 6 continents, including places such as Kolkata, India; La Paz, Bolivia; and Lahore and Islamabad, Pakistan.
Here is a gallery of pictures:
Denise Duffield of LA-PSR at the August 9 candlelight vigil in Santa Monica, in front of the sculpture Chain Reaction. The event was sponsored by PSR-LA, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, International Health & Epidemiology Research Center, Office of the Americas, Palisadians for Peace, and Pax Christi So Cal. Photo credit: James Odling
Lanterns for Peace, Madison, WI, August 8 Photo credit: Mary Doherty
PSR / Oregon sponsored Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Creating a Nuclear-Free Future at Japanese American Historical Plaza on the Portland waterfront, featuring an opening invocation by Rev. Dr. Leroy Haynes, a presentation by hibakusha (survivor of the atomic bombing) Dr. Hideko Tamura Snider, and music by Unit Souzou, a Portland based taiko ensemble. Photo credits: Barry Amundson
August 7 to 9, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action organized a series of events adjacent to the Bangor submarine base on Kitsap Peninsula, homeport to 8 ballistic missile submarines. The Pacific Northwest Interfaith Peace Walk for a Nuclear-free Future, including monks from Nipponzan Myohoji, began in Salem, Oregon and ended at Ground Zero Center. Ground Zero Center protested Trident at the gate to the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor base. Former PSR President David Hall, MD and wife Rev. Anne Hall were among the participants. On Nagasaki Day (August 9), the Boats by Bangor peace flotilla of 13 kayakers, sailboat S/V Silent, and the ketch Golden Rule, organized by Ground Zero Center and Veterans for Peace, took their nuclear weapons abolition message directly to the Bangor base, where Trident D-5 missiles are loaded into submarines. (Trident sub visible beyond the yellow buoy). In a speech in 1982, Catholic Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen said: "Trident is the Auschwitz of Puget Sound." Photos: Ground Zero Center.
Participants in Seattle's From Hiroshima to Hopefloated 1,200 Japanese lanterns this year. WPSR co-sponsored the event. Photo credit: Martha Brice.
August 9 in Syracuse, New York, protesters marched thru Hanover Square with artwork inspired by the horrors of nuclear bombs. "We need to devote a lot more effort to scaling down our nuclear arsenal, asking other countries to do that. We need to abolish nuclear weapons," said PSR member Dr. Richard Weiskopf. Photo credit: Scott Willis
Daniel Ellsberg addressed the crowd at The Nagasaki-Livermore Lab Connection in Livermore, CA cosponsored by Tri Valley CARES and San Francisco Bay Area PSR. "The rally was followed by a march to the Livermore Lab main gate where peace advocates then staged a "die in" and had their bodies chalked on the roadway to symbolize the victims vaporized in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 45 peaceful protesters, including Ellsberg, chose to risk arrest for blocking the roadway at both the West and Main East Ave. gates to the Lab." (Quote and photo from Tri Valley CARES)
Bike Around the Bomb in Washington, D.C., Aug 6, organized by Ground Zero. (Photo credit: Global Zero)
Oak Ridge, TN "The Gambler's Express" —the Catalystica Players contemplate the risks of nuclear weapons. Oak Ridge events organized by Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA).
Michael Walli of Transform Now Plowshares (renowned for their July, 2012 nonviolent direct action break-in at the Y-12 plant) leads the march to the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex gate
If you're interested in seeing the list of events, please consult PSR's Hiroshima – Nagasaki Commemorations Calendar.