The victims of nuclear weapons
Peace lanterns commemorate Hiroshima Day
August 6th marks the 63rd anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima. On Saturday, we’ll remember Nagasaki Day. In remembrance of all the victims of nuclear weapons, I wanted to share with you some of the personal stories of people directly effected by nuclear weapons. Mr. Isao Kita was 33 years old when the bomb fell on Hiroshima. He was working for the Hiroshima District Weather Bureau 3.7 km from the hypocenter. He kept observing the weather even after he was exposed.
…It was not really a big flash. But still it drew my attention. In a few seconds, the heat wave arrived. …Even though there was a window glass in front of me, I felt really hot. It was as if I was looking directly into a kitchen oven. I couldn’t bear the heat for a long time. …I realized that the bomb had been dropped. As I had been instructed, I pushed aside the chair and lay with my face on the floor….
You can finish reading his story and other excerpts from the Hibakusha (the Japanese word for atom bomb survivors) posted online here.
While no nuclear bombs have been used against another country since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, people continue to suffer because of them to this day. Many of those who work to produce nuclear weapons in the US or who live in communities nearby are put at risk of severe and deadly health problems. There’s a heart-wrenching series in the Rocky Mountain News by Laura Frank highlighting the difficulty American nuclear weapons workers face in receiving government compensation for their illnesses. Here’s one story:
Janine Anderson spent seven years as a secretary at the Oak Ridge nuclear reservation, one of the nation’s premier nuclear weapons development and production complexes.
But that safe-sounding office position didn’t protect her from the toxic exposure that has ravaged her body. Her lungs are scarred with deadly beryllium, a key ingredient in atomic bombs. Her immune system is attacking her body, which harbors an array of heavy metals in toxic quantities. Her liver is so enlarged that it is threatening to burst through her abdominal wall.
Reading their stories reminded me just how important it is that we work together to create a world free of nuclear weapons. You can help prevent more people from suffering because of nuclear weapons by taking one of the actions below.
Attend a local event
Groups across the country are listing their events for Hiroshima and Nagasaki Day. Click here to find an event near you. Those of you living in the San Francisco Bay Area can join me this Saturday at the annual event in Livermore. For information on the Livermore event, click here.
Take action online
You can send an email to your representative encouraging them to support verifiable reductions to the US nuclear stockpile by cosponsoring H Res 1045.
Or, you can tell the presidential candidates that you want leadership for a nuclear weapons free world.
Image courtesy of /kallu on flickr.com