Two fishermen, some retirees, and young people sat down at a picnic bench on majestic Lane’s Island in Penobscot Bay, Maine. The majority were women. It was Sunday, August 9th, 2015. The date was particularly important to this gathering. It was August 9th, 1945 that a weapon of mass destruction was dropped on another Island. It obliterated the Japanese town of Nagasaki and instantly killed 80 thousand people. The United States of America detonated that weapon of mass destruction, killing men, women and thousands of children.

The youngest attendee brought the book, Hiroshima, by John Hersey. Three days before the plutonian-based atomic bomb wrecked death and destruction on Nagasaki, a uranium-based atomic weapon was detonated by the USA over Hiroshima. The radiation that stalked those lands would kill many thousands more in the weeks, months, and years following the initial blasts.

On June 12th 1982, there was a massive gathering of humanity from throughout the world in New York. This was the legendary Nuclear Freeze March on the United Nations. The demands were simple, straight forward, and clear. Freeze all nuclear weapons and their delivery systems in all countries and begin the process of ridding all peoples and the environment of these threats to life on our one, habitable planet.
The Hibakusha, survivors of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, along with later generations from those towns, marched. The Hibakuska handed out paper cranes, symbols of life, peace, and tranquility. The march is reputed to be the largest mass gathering ever on the planet. It was one of the most important and moving experiences of my life. The Peace & Planet March of spring 2015 in NYC was a logical extension of the historic Freeze March, with demands expanded to include opposition to nuclear power and climate change.

One of the most harmful myths about the atomic bombings was the rationale put forward by the U.S. government. It was claimed that it saved 100,000 lives of U.S. troops, as now an invasion of Japan would not be needed to end the war. This was a total falsehood. The U.S. bombing survey, conducted just weeks after the official end of WWII, showed that the 2/3 of the largest Japanese towns had been destroyed by the fire bombing of those areas from May of 1944 to June of 1945. Two hundred thousand Japanese men, women, and children were dead.

U.S. Secretary of War Stimson knew Japan was ready to surrender. He passed this information on to President Truman. While General Eisenhower concurred with this position, Truman had other political objectives. He was in the presidency because of the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He faced his first presidential election in 1948 and wanted to appear a “strong” leader. He also wanted to demonstrate the power of the USA, via this weapon of mass destruction, as a message to the Soviet Union. It would display, for all to see, the USA’s willingness to wantonly kill thousands of civilians for its objectives. It was the beginning of the Cold War.

One of the myths of the later period is that Ronald Reagan initiated the freeze of nuclear weapons that followed the Nuclear Freeze March. Nothing could be further from the truth. The movement was initiated at the grassroots. In my hometown of Waterbury, Connecticut, there was a candlelight march supporting the freeze demand. Films and speakers educated us. This upwelling of understanding and support was occurring throughout the country and the world. It was this grassroots pressure that forced Reagan to meet with Soviet leader Gorbachev and begin acquiescing to the just demands of the people. No nukes.

The struggle against nuclear weapons and war continue. The recent agreement between seven countries and Iran over its nuclear program is the most recent example. The deal limits Iran to a stockpile of less than 300 kg of low enriched uranium. A metric ton or 1,000 kg are necessary to make a bomb. Two thirds of their centrifuges will be removed. Iran will not reprocess spent fuel rods, which is the pathway to a plutonium-based bomb. The International Atomic Energy Agency has declared the agreement good, verifiable and enforceable.

Those opposing this deal want war with Iran. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is spending tens of millions of dollars to sink this deal and beat the war drums. It’s up to the grassroots to prevent this from happening. Peace loving people are asked to call/e-mail their senators on or by August 26th. Confirm the agreement with Iran.

Let’s make the same effort as those who gathered on Lanes Island, Maine, and throughout the country this August, and make HOPE happen.
In Maine:
Angus King (I) 1-207-622-8292
(202) 224-5344

Susan Collins (R)
(202) 224-2523

In Connecticut:

Richard Blumenthal (D) 1-860-258-6940 1-202-224-2823


Christopher Murphy (D) 1-860-549-8463