Dear Friends for Life: 71 years have passed since the United States dropped the atomic bomb on masses of innocent people, many still at home having breakfast with their families. The first city hit by the atomic bomb was Hiroshima. The time was 8:15am on August 6, 1945. In just a few minutes, the entire city – babies, school children, mothers and grandparents – was completely erased. Radiation was so intense that those who did not die immediately died of exposure poisoning in the weeks, months and years that followed. The intense pain and long suffering must have been horrible since 90% of doctors, nurses and medical facilities were destroyed. “Little Boy“ – the name attached to the first uranium gun-type atomic bomb ever used in a war – is estimated to have killed 90,000 – 146,000 people in Hiroshima.
Three days later, on August 9, the U.S. dropped a plutonium implosion-type bomb, labeled “Fat Man“, on the city of Nagasaki. This time 39,000 – 80,000 people died. Wikipedia estimates that roughly half of the deaths in each city occurred on the first day and in both cases most of the dead were civilians.
Since those killed were disintergrated, we’ll never know the exact number nor even their names. Many victims are forever nameless.
The International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has produced a video in memory of the victims of these nuclear attacks. Also the governments of the various countries will sit down in the near future and try to decide whether or not a treaty can be negotiated to ban nuclear weapons. Pax Christi is a member of ICAN and believes the world is ready to start such negotiations. For more information click here: http://paxchristi.org.uk/
Pope Francis comments “…on August 6 and 9, 1945, the terrible atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki took place. Even after so many years, this tragic event still arouses horror and revulsion.” …”This (event) has become the symbol of mankind’s enormous destructive power when it makes a distorted use of scientific and technical progress and serves as a lasting warning to humanity so that it rejects war forever and bans nuclear weapons and all arms of mass destruction.”
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis “urges us to pray and strive for peace, to spread brotherhood throughout the world and a climate of peaceful co-existence between peoples”. He adds: “May one cry rise up from every land, No to war and violence and Yes to dialogue and to peace. With war one always loses. The only way to win a war is never to wage it.”
Marking the 71st anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, let us unite with Pope Francis’s call for a ban on nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction by taking a great step for MERCY. Art Laffin in his NCR’s article “Hiroshima and Nagasaki: An Apology” states: “Now is the time to pursue non-violent alternatives to war and proclaim a Jubilee Year of Mercy, as both the Scriptures and Pope Francis suggest: to restore justice for the poor; to lay the foundations for peace; and to seek a nuclear-free future for our children. In that spirit, we renew our commitment to the biblical vision of peace, a world without weapons or war, expressed so well by the prophet Isaiah: On that day, “God will rule over all nations and settle disputes for all peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not raise sword against nation; nor will they train for war anymore” (Is 2:4).”
Jerry Novotny, OMI