Never Again- Commemorating Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Gloria Soto – Advocacy Intern
August 9, 2012
“In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims” -Pope Benedict XVI
In 1945, during the final stages of World War II, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date. American soldiers dropped “Little Boy” on the city of Hiroshima on August 6th, followed by “Fat Man” over Nagasaki on August 9th.
Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed about 166,000 people in Hiroshima and around 80,000 in Nagasaki, with roughly half of the deaths in each city occurred on the first day. The Hiroshima prefecture health department estimated that, of the people who died on the day of the explosion, 60% died from flash or flame burns, 30% from falling debris and 10% from other causes. In the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by illness. In a US estimate of the total immediate and short term cause of death, 15 to 20% died from radiation sickness, 20–30% from burns, and 50–60% from other injuries, compounded by illness.
Now many will say that nuclear weapons have not been used in war since August 9, 1945, but we should we be worried because even without the use of these weapons, their shadow looms across the world, because we do not know when and how these weapons are going to be used.
On November 11, 1948, General Omar Bradley during the Armistice Day speech said, “We have men of science, too few men of God. The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.”
Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, our country still spends billions of dollars a year on a nuclear weapons program built for a past era-one hundred billion dollars on spending on nuclear weapons over the next 10 years. The U.S. can no longer sustain or justify spending on nuclear weapons and related programs at current levels.
On January 1, 2006, on an anniversary of the World Day of Peace, his holiness, Pope Benedict XVI said, “In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims. The truth of peace requires that all-whether those governments which openly or secretly possess nuclear arms, or those planning to acquire them- agree to change their course by clear and firm decision and strive for a progressive and concerted nuclear disarmament.  The resources which would be saved could then be employed in projects of development capable of benefiting all of their people, especially the poor.” The destructive capacity of nuclear arms makes them disproportionate and indiscriminate weapons that endanger human life and dignity, and also affect the rest of Creation that God called “good.”
This week, we commemorate the 67th Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As people of faith we have the responsibility to get involved and prevent the use of another nuclear weapon. We can  ask our Representatives to support and cosponsor bills like H.R. 3974, the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act that would help cancel the construction of new, wasteful nuclear weapons facilities. Let’s not overlook these terrible events that ended with thousands of lives lost, let these memorable dates motivate us to take action and work for peace in our world.

Never Again- Commemorating Hiroshima and NagasakiGloria Soto – Advocacy Intern“In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims” -Pope Benedict XVIIn 1945, during the final stages of World War II, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date. American soldiers dropped “Little Boy” on the city of Hiroshima on August 6th, followed by “Fat Man” over Nagasaki on August 9th.Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed about 166,000 people in Hiroshima and around 80,000 in Nagasaki, with roughly half of the deaths in each city occurred on the first day. The Hiroshima prefecture health department estimated that, of the people who died on the day of the explosion, 60% died from flash or flame burns, 30% from falling debris and 10% from other causes. In the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by illness. In a US estimate of the total immediate and short term cause of death, 15 to 20% died from radiation sickness, 20–30% from burns, and 50–60% from other injuries, compounded by illness.Now many will say that nuclear weapons have not been used in war since August 9, 1945, but we should we be worried because even without the use of these weapons, their shadow looms across the world, because we do not know when and how these weapons are going to be used. On November 11, 1948, General Omar Bradley during the Armistice Day speech said, “We have men of science, too few men of God. The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.” Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, our country still spends billions of dollars a year on a nuclear weapons program built for a past era-one hundred billion dollars on spending on nuclear weapons over the next 10 years. The U.S. can no longer sustain or justify spending on nuclear weapons and related programs at current levels.On January 1, 2006, on an anniversary of the World Day of Peace, his holiness, Pope Benedict XVI said, “In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims. The truth of peace requires that all-whether those governments which openly or secretly possess nuclear arms, or those planning to acquire them- agree to change their course by clear and firm decision and strive for a progressive and concerted nuclear disarmament.  The resources which would be saved could then be employed in projects of development capable of benefiting all of their people, especially the poor.” The destructive capacity of nuclear arms makes them disproportionate and indiscriminate weapons that endanger human life and dignity, and also affect the rest of Creation that God called “good.”This week, we commemorate the 67th Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As people of faith we have the responsibility to get involved and prevent the use of another nuclear weapon. We can  ask our Representatives to support and cosponsor bills like H.R. 3974, the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act that would help cancel the construction of new, wasteful nuclear weapons facilities. Let’s not overlook these terrible events that ended with thousands of lives lost, let these memorable dates motivate us to take action and work for peace in our world.