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Reflections from Memorial Day gathering

Sixty-three persons listen as Kimmy Igla describes “the growing movement calling for nuclear weapons production to STOP.” -- Photos by Kriss Avery

By Jane Stoever

A PeaceWorks KC Board member, Kimmy Igla, emceed our 13th annual Memorial Day remembrance of those who have died from the making of parts for nuclear weapons in KC MO. “I was struck by the support of people who’ve come together for years for this event, and people who were there the first time,” said Kimmy after the event. “The newcomers came to learn more about the dangers of nuclear weapon production, and others came to keep supporting the peace work over the continuing years.” She added, “The more we educate ourselves and each other, the stronger the anti-nuclear movement grows!”

Kimmy was one of three line-crossers who were arrested this year. She reflected, “Crossing the line is an act of resistance that binds us to the resisters that came before us and the resisters yet to come.”

Theodore John, left, and another Vet for Peace walk a mile past the National Security Campus, where 80% of the electronic and mechanical parts for US nukes are made or procured.

The first speaker Kimmy introduced was Theodore John, leader of the local Veterans for Peace. He served in the Marine Corps from 1986 to 1992. During Desert Storm/Desert Shield, he witnessed the atrocities of war. “I was to be assigned morgue detail if my unit was to see combat,” Theodore said. “During the training, I viewed a dead Iraqi soldier. I remember the initial rush of seeing my enemy vanquished. Then I realized this guy was just like me—in a situation he didn’t want to be in, although he was on the losing side. I imagined if things could be different, maybe we could have been friends.”

At our Memorial Day gathering, that was one of several heartfelt sharings. Another came from Father Terry Bruce of the Kansas City/St. Joseph Diocese. He said four bishops or archbishops—John Wester of Santa Fe, NM, and church leaders from Seattle and Hiroshima and Nagasaki—sent a letter May 15 to the G7 leaders who would soon meet in Hiroshima.

Raylah pulls Micah Chrisman along the path to the National Security Campus entry road—both belong to the Cherith Brook Catholic Worker community that has been part of our Memorial Day protests since 2011.

Father Terry quoted from their letter, which pleaded, “Undertake concrete steps toward global, verifiable nuclear disarmament.” The church leaders noted, “Rather than viewing the war in Ukraine as an overwhelming impediment toward making substantial progress, we view it instead as a clear demonstration of the absolute need to do so.”

Glancing at the huge National Security Campus entry sign on Memorial Day, Father Terry closed with saying, “National Security Campus. This ‘campus’ does not make me feel more secure.”

—Jane Stoever serves on the PeaceWorks KC Communications Team. © 2023, Jane Stoever, Kimmy Igla, Theodore John, Father Terry Bruce, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 International License.

Man hanging origame peace cranes.