Justice and Peace Issues
75th Anniversary Hiroshima & Nagasaki Bombings
During his visit to Nagasaki and Hiroshima last November, Pope Francis made an impassioned appeal for the total elimination of nuclear arms, “In a world where millions of children and families live in inhumane conditions, the money that is squandered and the fortunes made through the manufacture, upgrading, maintenance and sale of ever more destructive weapons, are an affront crying out to heaven.”
This August marks 75 years since the United States conducted nuclear attacks against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, devastating their populations and destroying their infrastructure. This 75th anniversary is an opportunity to come together, to reflect, and to push for a more just world that values peace and the safety of all people. Following their use in Japan, the production and testing of nuclear weapons in the United States and internationally continues to harm the health, environment, and cultures of communities around the world. In this time of pandemic, people have come to realize more fully the deep interconnections and mutual dependence of life on Earth. Many are beginning to rethink national security and questions national priorities. Today, 9 countries still possess nearly 14,000 nuclear weapons, enough to end all life on the planet many times over. Unlike the coronavirus, maintaining and expanding international nuclear arsenals, and the threats they pose to the world, are a choice nuclear-armed country make.
While it is fitting to mourn the lives lost to COVID-19, this anniversary also invites people around the world to stand with the hibakusha, the survivors of the bombings in Japan, and other communities harmed by nuclear weapons. While the hibakusha survived the immediate effects of the blasts, they have suffered from the effects of radiation sickness, loss of family and friends, and discrimination. In spite of their difficulties, many hibakusha have been shining examples of turning their personal tragedies into a struggle to promote peace and to create a world free of nuclear weapons. We honor them and the memory of all who lost their lives 75 years ago and, in the aftermath, whenever we raise our voices to say “No! Never again!”
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) has joined #stillhere, a coalition of anti-nuclear organizations who share a common goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons and standing with the hibakusha.
• Read the Still Here Position Statement.
• Sign and share the hibakusha appeal with your networks.
• Find resources and learn how to get involved HERE.
• Plan to attend the national virtual event on Thursday, August 6 and Sunday, August 9.
On this solemn anniversary, Pax Christi USA pledges to raise awareness of the imminent threat of nuclear weapons in our world today and offer resources for study and action to support efforts toward the abolition of nuclear war. Below, you will find several ways to commemorate the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Peace Ribbon 2020 is a project that aims to spur the imagination of all that would be lost if we succumb again to the use of a nuclear weapon. Pax Christi USA undertakes this project as our contribution to the ongoing effort begun by Justine Merritt and carried forth by The Ribbon International, a nongovernmental organization at the UN that seeks to keep alive Justine’s vision to protect life and achieve a world without nuclear weapons.
The project encourages participants to make a ribbon panel — either by cloth or on poster board — sewing, painting, drawing or writing to capture “what I cannot bear to think of as lost forever in a nuclear war.” Panels then can be displayed in our windows, on porch railings, at our community centers or places of worship as a way of commemorating this 75th anniversary and pledging to work for a world that will never know such destruction again.
Visit the Justice Prayers for a Prayer for Disarmament.