By Mary Hladky
On Aug. 4 at Loose Park, 55 persons enjoyed a potluck dinner followed by several speakers, the music of Bob and Diana Suckiel, and reflection in remembrance of the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 74 years ago.
Henry Stoever of PeaceWorks-KC expressed our sorrow for the immense pain and suffering inflicted on the Japanese people by the dropping of these two bombs. All agreed this must never happen again.
PeaceWorks works diligently to bring attention to the massive plant at the south edge of the city on Botts Road; it produces 85 percent of the non-nuclear parts necessary to make nuclear weapons. Most residents are unaware that Kansas City plays a major part in the production of nuclear weapons that vaporize people and could destroy the world.
Dave Pack spoke about Paul Ham’s book Hiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath. Ham calls nuclear weapons immoral. He details the true horrors of these bombings—immediate incineration of thousands of people, horrendous burned-flesh injuries, and radiation exposure that produced more deaths within the days and weeks that followed. And, history has determined, the atomic bombings were not necessary to end the war with Japan.
Also, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has kept the Doomsday Clock set at 2 minutes to midnight for the past two years. This is as close to global Armageddon as the clock has been since it was introduced in 1947. We are in very dangerous times. We must step up to stop the production and then to eliminate nuclear weapons.
Atsuki Mori, a Japanese woman from Warrensburg, MO, and her family attended the event. Her young son Kosuke Mori-Kreiner sounded the gong, representing the 74 years since the 1945 bombings. Atsuki explained that her grandmother’s whole life dramatically changed after the Hiroshima bombing and shared how much her family and the Japanese people have suffered. Atsuki told us she is happy so many Americans know the truth about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and that this gives her hope.
We also met Inoru Wade, executive director of the Midwest Rainbow Research Institute in KC, KS. Wade, who was born in Japan and lived there many years, said the Japanese people are very vocal when the government tries to change the Japanese Constitution to build an army or to host nuclear weapons. Wade does vital work in Kansas City with the LGBT community and First Responders.
We acknowledge that there is much to be done to prevent any future detonations, either accidental or intentional. But here is some good news:
—Ann Suellentrop said an exciting new report, “Warheads to Windmills: How to Pay for the Green New Deal,” shows we can easily shift the resources wasted on nuclear weapons to the production of green technologies to address the climate crisis. You can read the full report at here.
—We learned that we have an ally in Rep. Sharice Davids, Dem.-Kansas, who supports the reduction of the world’s nuclear stockpile and our work for a more peaceful and stable world.
—Also, we must encourage all our representatives to press the president to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or the UN Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, adopted July 2017, outlawing nuclear weapons. This treaty will become law when 50 nations have signed and ratified this treaty. We are half-way there; 25 countries have now ratified the Treaty.
A final note: During this 10th annual remembrance coordinated by PeaceWorks, many of us were missing the presence of our dear friend Lu Mountenay, who died from cancer on Easter Sunday, April 21. She was a fearless activist against nuclear weapons, someone who continues to drive and inspire us and our work.
—Mary Hladky is vice chair of the PeaceWorks-KC Board.
Slideshow from the event. Photos by Jim Hannah