COMMEMMORATION

Remembering Hiroshima, Nagasaki

Group meets in park to honor those who died

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The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be commemorated at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7, in the pavilion at Gough Park, at the corner of 12th and North Pope streets in Silver City. This ceremony of remembrance begins with a period of silence, followed by an opportunity to share reflections in an atmosphere of reverence and respect. All are welcome. Participants are asked to bring their own chairs. Before and after the ceremony, participants may view historical posters on the development, decision making, and effects of the atomic bombings.

The Gila Friends Meeting (Quakers) has observed the anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japan annually since 1986. The United States exploded the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and the second over Nagasaki on Aug. 9. Well over 100,000 people died instantly. Many more died in the months and years that followed from radiation exposure, and many pregnancies ended in stillbirths or in children born severely impaired. According to a press release, the Friends invite the community to remember and grieve for the victims of the bombings, as well as for those who have suffered illness and death from uranium mining, bomb testing, and all aspects of weapons construction and management. The event offers participants an opportunity to renew their dedication to work toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

Although arms control and disarmament programs have reduced the number of weapons in the world’s nuclear arsenal by about 80 percent, the more than 13,000 that remain are sufficient to destroy the world as we have known it many times over – and disarmament efforts are now giving way to an international arms race aimed at creating a new generation of nuclear weapons. Quakers and other faith communities are responding with concern and action. Notably, on Jan. 11, Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe, whose Archdiocese includes the Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories and Kirtland Air Force Base (where many nuclear weapons are kept), issued a pastoral letter entitled “Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament.” The Gila Friends Meeting, New Mexico Regional Meeting of Friends, and Intermountain Yearly Meeting of Friends have all recently approved statements of concern and continuing commitment to worldwide nuclear disarmament.