On the 77th Anniversary of the Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
by Henry Lowendorf, Greater New Haven Peace Council
The current threat of nuclear war – and the critical efforts to dismantle nuclear weapons arsenals and the need for all of us to engage in the struggle to demilitarize our society – has motivated both commemorations of the 77th anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 6th and 9th.
We were reminded by the words that Secretary General of the UN António Guterres handed to the latest review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) at the UN that conventional wars, such as the one in Ukraine and the one that US efforts are trying to provoke in China, where the belligerents possess thousands of nuclear weapons, are but one misstep away from nuclear catastrophe.
We were reminded in words, poetry and song, that our own action, or inaction, today determines whether our government continues to spend most of our limited resources on weapons and war, or changes course to fund human needs; whether we assure our children and their children a livable future or not.
We were reminded that General Leslie Groves, the head of the Manhattan Project which generated the first atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, lied that it was pleasant to die by radiation poisoning. And that government leaders today, who are spending $2 trillion on building more and more “usable” nuclear weapons, continue to lie to make us believe that these weapons of mass destruction – the destruction of most life on planet earth – provide us with any kind of security.
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker spoke of ensuring the security of the future of his two small children. Former mayor Toni Harp explained how as a young girl she discovered her birthday was not the same as some famous movie star but the day the lives of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were brutally snuffed out in the faraway city of Hiroshima.
Veterans for Peace Connecticut leader Jim Brasile informed us that the sailing ship Golden Rule will visit New Haven and other cities in Connecticut next spring. The Golden Rule has a marvelous history sailing the Pacific to highlight the threat of nuclear weapons and encourage action to abolish them. It will be here in May and June, 2023, to help us celebrate, contemplate and defend the right to live free of nuclear war.
As we commemorated the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and diplomats from around the world debated how to get the nuclear-weapons states to abide by their obligations under the NPT, our own government is spreading nuclear weapons technology to new territories in the Indo-Pacific. Peaceful Ocean indeed!
As residents and citizens of the only nation that has ever purposefully used nuclear weapons against civilians, we are obligated to actively demand that our leaders lead in rapidly abolishing them.
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