The Peace Ribbon 2020
The Pax Christi USA Peace Ribbon Coalition is comprised of individuals and peace and justice organizations combining efforts to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki through active nonviolent engagement of The Peace Ribbon initiative founded by Justine Merritt in 1982.
Pax Christi USA members promote nuclear, conventional and domestic disarmament, an end to the international arms trade, economic conversion to a non-military economy, conscientious objection, and nonviolent alternatives to war. Pax Christi USA promotes the just reconciliation of enemies through the United Nations and other channels.
Peace Ribbon 2020 Coalition
Jean Athey – Maryland Peace Action | Andrea Norouzi – Frederick Friends Meeting, The Ribbon Washington, D.C., & Prevent Nuclear War Maryland | Marie Dennis – Catholic Nonviolence Initiative & Pax Christi International | Veronica Fellerath-Lowell – Pax Christi USA & Pax Christi-St. John the Baptist, Silver Spring, MD | Kurt Hansen – Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore | Karen Levad – The Ribbon Minnesota | Mary Liepold, PhD. – Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore & Little Friends for Peace | Marie Lucey, OSF – Franciscan Action Network | M.J. Parks – Little Friends for Peace | Melvin Hardy – PeaceAction, Hiroshima Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capitol Area & Hiroshima Children’s Drawings | Dianna Ortiz, OSU – Pax Christi USA
Seventy-five years ago, then President Truman made the decision to deploy the world’s first weapon of mass destruction on two major Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Truman’s nuclear assault would be recorded as the most immoral and barbaric acts of war ever perpetrated in human history. On the clear morning of August 6, 1945 at 8:15 am Japanese time, the U.S. bomber Enola Gay dropped the uranium bomb code-named “Little Boy” over Hiroshima. The devastation was unlike anything the world had ever seen. The blast, equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT, pulverized all living things—humans, animals and foliage were scorched to death by the heat generated by the explosion. In a single day, some 70,000 people perished and by December 1945, the death toll in Hiroshima rose to 140,000.
A mere three days later, on August 9, 11:02 am Japanese time, similar scenes of death and anguish unfolded. A second atomic bomb dubbed “Fat Boy,” plunged into the city of Nagasaki, instantly killing 40,000 Japanese citizens. By the end of 1945, the final death toll in Nagasaki reached 74,000. The explosion unleashed the equivalent force of 22,000 tons of TNT—black rain poured down in torrents upon the entire city of Nagasaki and her inhabitants. By the end of 1945, more than 210,000 people died instantly and others were maimed for life. In years that would follow many would face life-threatening chronic illnesses caused by over exposure to radiation. Seventy-five years later, the effects are still being felt today. 1
Seventy-five years later, the nuclear attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki still leaves behind an indelible stain on the conscience of America. Year after year, we pause to remember the countless lives lost and the Hibakusha and communities who suffered from the atomic attacks. Remembering is not enough—and it will not atone for the iniquities of our past leaders. In his 2009 Prague address, former President Obama affirmed, “…because of its central role in nuclear weapons development, the United States has a ‘moral responsibility’ to lead global efforts seeking ‘the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.’” 2 A great responsibility falls upon the shoulders of today’s and tomorrow’s generations—a global abolition of nuclear weapons.
1 “Harry Truman Administration: Message To Congress On The Atomic Bomb,” October 3, 1945 at https://bit.ly/2Bei721.
2 “Remarks By President Barack Obama In Prague As Delivered,” April 5, 2009 at https://bit.ly/2BX8hRR.