This week marks the 64th anniversary of the first use of an atomic weapon. The US atomic bombing of Hiroshima marked the start of the atomic age and also killed 260,000 people with a single bomb, marking a new height in man’s inhumanity to man. While I do not want to debate the wisdom or morality of that most difficult decision of Harry Truman to end the war, I do think the words of the pilot, Captain Robert Lewis, of “My God, what have we done?” ring true 64 years later as they did at the time.
With trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth spent and being spent now on maintenance of nuclear arsenals that have the power to destroy our planet, it is time once and for all to eliminate nuclear weapons from our planet. While we continue to pay lip service to eliminating useless nuclear weapons, little has been done to stop their production and we have a serious issue now with more nations seeking to join the nuclear club.
Nuclear weapons remain the most serious threat to humanity. Humanity’s capacity to use those weapons makes that a threat to take seriously. Even though the tensions that caused the cold war and the nuclear arms race have subsided, the nuclear arsenals continue to be produced, older weapons are being replaced by new weapons and unstable governments around the world seek nuclear arms in a sick sort of weapons-envy power trip.
I marched in my first anti-war rally on Hiroshima Day in 1964. I told my parents I was going to the library and ended up on the front page of the Chicago Sun Times. Yeah, I got grounded. But, I do remember the fear of the nuclear arms race. My parents even had a nuclear shelter in our home when we lived in Kansas. It was sort of silly—it didn’t even have a door, no sanitation facilities and would do almost nothing to protect you from that kind of explosion. I remember the ‘duck and cover’ exercises in school that were just as silly.
The use of nuclear weapons is no longer an option in our world and they should be forever banned.